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Affiliate Statement on COVID-19
All of us at Komen Ozark want to first take this opportunity to thank all medical professionals who are working around the clock to treat those affected by the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
As a health organization, our top priority is and always has been focused on the well-being of our supporters and community. Even with evolving public health challenges caused by COVID-19, we continue that commitment.
The World Health Organization declared the Coronavirus (COVID-19) a pandemic on Wednesday, March 11, 2020.
“A pandemic is a global outbreak of a serious new illness that requires sustained transmission throughout the world,” said Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. This loosely-defined term does not necessarily refer to the lethality of an illness, but more so the world worldwide spread.
So what are the symptoms of COVID-19, who is most at risk and what should everyone do to protect themselves and others?
-Shortness of Breath
These symptoms may appear up to 14 days after exposure. Call your doctor if you develop symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, if you have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19.
If you develop these emergency symptoms, get medical attention immediately:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
The peer-reviewed medical, The Lancet, published a study in mid-February which concluded both current and former cancer patients are at greater risk from COVID-19.
The study looked at 2,007 cases of hospitalized COVID-19 patients from 575 hospitals in China. Out of that group, they found 18 patients with a history of cancer they could track- some currently in treatment, some years out. Nearly half of those patients had a higher risk of “severe events” (defined as admission to the ICU, the need for ventilation or death).
“We found that patients with cancer might have a higher risk of COVID-19 than individuals without cancer,” the study authors wrote. “Additionally, we showed that patients with cancer had poorer outcomes from COVID-19, providing a timely reminder to physicians that more intensive attention should be paid to patients with cancer, in case of rapid deterioration.” If you are currently in breast cancer treatment, a breast cancer survivor or thriver, live with someone who is currently in breast cancer treatment or breast cancer survivor or thriver, or around people who are currently in breast cancer treatment or breast cancer survivors or thrivers, please follow these precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, or having been in a public place (if soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol).
- Avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places- elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking with people, etc. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something.
- Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, etc.
- Clean and disinfect your home to remove germs: practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks and cell phones)
Things Everyone Should Do:
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth and close contact with people who are sick
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw that tissue in the trash
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- Stay home when you are sick, except to seek medical care
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
What Should I Do if I Develop Symptoms?
If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever, cough, or shortness of breath call ahead to your health care provider.
Those at higher risk for serious illness include older adults and people with underlying chronic medical conditions. People who are considered high risk should contact their health care provider early, even if symptoms are mild.
Health care providers will decide if testing for COVID-19 is necessary based on your symptoms and known exposures. Providers can test through private labs.
The Arkansas Department of Health does not collect specimens for testing. Only your health care provider can decide if testing is needed and collect the needed specimens.
At this time, the Arkansas Department of Health Public Health Lab is only performing tests for Arkansans with possible high risk exposure to COVID-19. However, health care providers have access to testing through other labs.
People who are mildly ill may be able to self-isolate and care for themselves at home. If emergency warning signs develop, seek medical attention immediately. These signs include: difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, or bluish lips or face.
If you do become sick, you can take the following steps to protect others:
- Stay home, unless you need medical care
- Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, properly dispose of tissues and wash your hands
- Monitor your symptoms and temperature
- Wear a facemask only if you are sick or are caring for someone who is sick. You do not need to wear a facemask if you are not sick, because they are in short supply and are not proven to be effective for preventing infection when worn by health individuals.
Your Breast Health and COVID-19
In an effort to minimize exposure and free up needed health capacity to deal with COVID-19, Susan G. Komen suggests healthy women of average risk delay routine breast cancer screening until later this year. Read more about Komen’s statement here.
Set a Reminder
Use Susan G. Komen’s mammogram reminder tool to remind yourself to reschedule your mammogram!
Displaying Warning Signs?
If you are displaying warning signs for breast cancer, contact your health provider right away to determine your next steps.
Warning signs for breast cancer are not the same for all women. The most common signs are changes to the look or feel of the breast. See a doctor if you notice any change in your breast. Learn more about the warning signs for breast cancer here.
We want to share a few updates on the actions we’re taking and some helpful resources for you:
- If you or anyone you know needs a connection to breast cancer resources, information on breast health and early detection, assistance finding treatment or other forms of support, please call us at 479-750-7465. Our team will work diligently to connect people to resources and get the help needed.
- For those undergoing breast cancer treatment, we encourage you to follow CDC guidelines.
- Supporters can offer assistance to someone they know in their community undergoing cancer treatment by bringing groceries or running errands so patients can avoid exposure to large groups, as suggested by the CDC.
Local Komen Ozark Office
Currently, the Komen Ozark staff will operate remotely and be available via email and phone during regular business hours (8:30-5pm) Monday-Friday. We will continue to monitor the situation and comply with CDC and local health department recommendations and are unsure when the office will reopen. If you need assistance, please call us at 479-750-7465 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope you, your families and loved ones remain safe and in good health during this challenging time. Now more than ever, we are so grateful for the passion and dedication of our volunteers and supporters. Thank you for your continued support of our mission.