COVID-19 update from VNPA President
As the President of the Vermont Nurse Practitioners Association, I want to share that I am closely working with national leadership and other NPO leaders about COVID-19. I will continue to pass information as it changes. Most of us are also getting info from our employers but I am also here to support private practices and individuals who are VNPA members.
At times like this, it's important for our patients to be informed with facts and tools they need to make sound health care decisions. We are front line care providers and as NPs know that prevention and early detection are the cornerstones of health and infectious disease control.
I encourage everyone to practice self-care measures, including handwashing, covering coughs, avoid touching your face, staying home if not feeling well and calling your primary care nurse practitioner or other health care provider if you have symptoms like fever, cough or known exposures.
For the majority of Vermonters, this outbreak is not life-threatening and for those who may experience complications, I am sure you will be working with all of your colleagues in the health care workforce to ensure your patients receive the highest standard of care.
I encourage you to know your resources and urge patients to familiarize themselves with the information provided by the CDC and local health department on their websites and appropriate social channels for the latest news in our area.
COVID-19 has an incubation period of two to 14 days, and symptoms include a mild to severe respiratory illness that may also include a fever, cough and shortness of breath. Those who are symptomatic are the most contagious, although it is possible that the disease can spread in the absence of symptoms. Comprehensive information on COVID-19, including symptoms, spread-prevention tips, information for specific groups like schools and businesses, clinical resources for health care providers and travel restrictions, can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. Vermont resources include the Vermont Department of Health COVID-19 and Calling 211
According to the CDC, COVID-19 spreads person-to-person via respiratory droplets produced from coughs or sneezes that are then inhaled by another person. Exposure to COVID-19 is also possible by touching infected surfaces exposed to the virus and then touching your own nose, mouth or eyes. The CDC reports that the virus causing COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily within communities in some geographic areas.
Please ask your patients to call before arriving at your offices and clinics so that you can prepare for their arrival (if they need to be seen). Many offices are adopting telehealth strategies at this time. Please use your patient portals for an avenue to interact with your patients and feel free to ask questions, this is a learning curve for all of us.
Overall let me close by reminding you that we are the experts, not social media and not your neighbor, and not the folks at the grocery store. Please instill calm in your office, clinic, and neighborhood. The numbers will go up as the testing increases, expect that! Do not let that instill panic.
Michelle Wade MSN/Ed, APRN
President Vermont Nurse Practitioners Association