Back to Top Skip to main content

Coronavirus: What providers, patients should know

Many forms of coronavirus exist among both humans and animals, but this new strain’s has caused alarm. (CDC graphic) Many forms of coronavirus exist among both humans and animals, but this new strain has caused alarm. (CDC graphic)

Recommended Content:

Global Health Engagement | Public Health | Coronavirus | Global Health Engagement | Coronavirus

With news of the contagious and potentially deadly illness known as novel coronavirus grabbing headlines worldwide, military health officials say that an informed, common sense approach minimizes the chances of getting sick.

Many forms of coronavirus exist among both humans and animals, but this new strain’s lethality has triggered considerable alarm. Believed to have originated at an animal market in Wuhan City, China, novel coronavirus has sickened hundreds and killed at least 4. It has since spread to other parts of Asia. The first case of novel coronavirus in the U.S. was reported January 22 in Washington State.

Anyone contracting a respiratory illness shouldn’t assume it’s novel coronavirus; it is far more likely to be a more common malady. “For example, right now in the U.S., influenza, with 35 million cases last season, is far more commonplace than novel coronavirus, said U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps Dr. (Lt. Cmdr.) David Shih, a preventive medicine physician and epidemiologist with the Clinical Support Division, Defense Health Agency. He added that those experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness – like coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath, and fever – should avoid contact with others and making them sick, Shih said.

“Don’t think you’re being super dedicated by showing up to work when ill,” Shih said. “Likewise, if you’re a duty supervisor, please don’t compel your workers to show up when they’re sick. In the short run, you might get a bit of a productivity boost. In the long run, that person could transmit a respiratory illness to co-workers, and pretty soon you lose way more productivity because your entire office is sick.”

Shih understands that service members stationed in areas of strategic importance and elevated states of readiness are not necessarily in the position to call in sick. In such instances, sick personnel still can take steps to practice effective cough hygiene and use whatever hygienic services they can find to avert hindering readiness by making their battle buddies sick.  Frequent thorough handwashing, for instance, is a cornerstone of respiratory disease prevention.

“You may not have plumbing for washing hands, but hand sanitizer can become your best friend and keep you healthy,” Shih said.

Regarding novel coronavirus, Shih recommends following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention travel notices.  First, avoid all non-essential travel to Wuhan, China, the outbreak’s epicenter.  Second, patients who traveled to China in the past 14 days with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, should seek medical care right away (calling the doctor’s office or emergency room in advance to report travel and symptoms) and otherwise avoid 1) contact with others and 2) travel while sick.

CDC also has guidance for health care professionals, who should evaluate patients with fever and respiratory illness by taking a careful travel history to identify patients under investigation (PUIs), who include those with 1) fever, 2) lower respiratory illness symptoms, and 3) travel history to Wuhan, China, within 14 days prior to symptom onset. PUIs should wear a surgical mask as soon as they are identified and be evaluated in a private room with the door closed, ideally an airborne infection isolation room if available.  Workers caring for PUIs should wear gloves, gowns, masks, eye protection, and respiratory protection. Perhaps most importantly, care providers who believe they may be treating a novel coronavirus patient should immediately notify infection control and public health authorities (the installation preventive medicine or public health department at military treatment facilities).

Because novel coronavirus is new (as its name suggests), there is as yet no immunization nor specific treatment. Care providers are instead treating the symptoms – acetaminophen to reduce fever, lozenges and other treatments to soothe sore throats, and, for severe cases, ventilators to help patients breathe.

“Lacking specific treatment,” Shih said, “we must be extra vigilant about basic prevention measures: frequent handwashing, effective cough and sneeze hygiene, avoiding sick individuals, and self-isolating when sick.”

You also may be interested in...

Army doctors provide COVID-19 safety tips for the holiday season

Article
11/17/2020
Soldiers wearing masks, looking at flight information in airport

Celebrating the holidays during a pandemic may bring additional challenges for people this year.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | November Toolkit | November Holidays and Observances

Military Health System participating in COVID-19 vaccine trial

Article
11/17/2020
Woman measuring out a vaccine into a needle

How you can help test the vaccine.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

DHA leaders recognize CCP collection campaign contributors & donors

Article
11/16/2020
Three military personnel in uniform, wearing masks, in front of flags

The ceremony honored those who contributed to exceeding the goal of collecting 10,000 units of COVID-19 convalescent plasma.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

NMRTU Everett staff collaborate to ensure Patient Centered Care

Article
11/16/2020
Image of two military personnel wearing masks

NMRTU Everett was commended by the MHS 2020 Advancement towards High Reliability Healthcare Awards Program as a Patient Centeredness Award winner.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Public Health | Coronavirus

Holiday Season Guidance to Minimize Spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019

Publication
11/16/2020

This memorandum provides guidance to help protect individuals within the DoD community from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) for gatherings and activities during the November to January holiday season.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Naval Medical Forces Pacific’s commander tours NH Twentynine Palms

Article
11/12/2020
Four military personnel in uniform, wearing masks

Weber was briefed on the implementation of MHS GENESIS...and the hospital's response to COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Health Readiness | Coronavirus | MHS GENESIS

Forging of civil-military anvil against COVID-19 focus at GHSA

Article
11/9/2020
U.S. and Thai soldiers stand together during a medical exercise.

“Defense partnerships around the world are key.”

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Global Health Engagement | Health Readiness | Global Health Engagement

BAMC, Argentine Army medical providers share COVID-19 best practices

Article
11/4/2020
Video teleconference image

U.S. Army South facilitated the virtual subject matter expert (SME) exchange between BAMC and CMMH.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Global Health Engagement | Technology | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Public Health | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

Strategy to Recruit and Retain Mental Health Providers

Congressional Testimony
11/4/2020

S. 1790 NDAA Conference Report for FY 2020, 116-333, Sec. 720

Recommended Content:

Public Health

Collaboration with Minority Serving Health Institutions

Congressional Testimony
11/4/2020

H.R. 2968 HAC Report for FY 2020, 116-84, Pg. 312-313

Recommended Content:

Public Health

Study on Infertility in Members of the Armed Forces

Congressional Testimony
11/4/2020

S. 1790 SASC Report for FY 2020, 116-48, Pg. 211

Recommended Content:

Public Health

The Importance of Enrolling Diverse Participants in COVID-19 Studies

Video
11/3/2020
The Importance of Enrolling Diverse Participants in COVID-19 Studies

This video discusses why enrolling diverse participants in COVID-19 studies is critical for ensuring that, when we find a vaccine, we have enough data from populations who are most affected by COVID-19 to determine vaccine safety and efficacy.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus

DHA-AI 3020-01: Return to the Workplace Staffing Plan in the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Environment

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Administrative Instruction (DHA-AI), based on the authority of References (a) through (b) and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (z3), establishes the Defense Health Agency's (DHA) plan to return to full operations and support the whole-of-government response, during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. This DHA-AI also provides a preventive plan to monitor and assess for the appearance of new cases and implement those processes that will prevent them from impacting the workforce. The processes describe herein are intended to offer an actionable plan for the workforce to re-enter DHA Administrative Offices. See Appendix 1 for a summary of the DHA Administrative Office Reopening Plan. The plan uses the Force Health Protection Guidance and Health Protection Conditions (HPCON), in accordance with Reference (d), to ensure protection for the workforce, including the most vulnerable-to-serious complications from the virus while enabling DHA Administrative Offices to continue its mission. See Appendix 2 for the conceptual HPCON framework.

  • Identification #: 3020-01
  • Date: 11/3/2020
  • Type: Administrative Instructions
  • Topics: Coronavirus

How Can Vaccine and Antibody Studies Move So Quickly and Still Be Safe?

Video
11/3/2020
How Can Vaccine and Antibody Studies Move So Quickly and Still Be Safe?

This video provides a detailed overview of the processes that have been implemented to accelerate the pace of the COVID-19 vaccine and antibody studies, and what is being done to assure safety.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

NMCP unveils new COVID-19 testing system

Article
11/2/2020
A group of military health personnel, wearing masks, in front of a large machine with a red ribbon in front of it.

Each Panther system can provide initial results in approximately four hours.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 61 - 75 Page 5 of 50

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.