Practice of Medicine
Safety Alert: An Update on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
March 13, 2020
Disclaimer: As this situation is evolving daily, MagMutual recommends reviewing the latest guidelines for the most current information. Visit the MagMutual COVID-19 Resource Center to learn more.
Updated March 13, 2020
As this situation is evolving daily, we recommend reviewing the latest CDC and local health department guidelines for the most current information.
A few key updates include:
- Interim Guidance for Public Health Personnel Evaluating Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) and Asymptomatic Close Contacts of Confirmed Cases at Their Home or Non-Home Residential Settings
- Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients with Suspected or Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Healthcare Settings
- Interim Guidance for Risk Assessment and Public Health Management of Healthcare Personnel with Potential Exposure in a Healthcare Setting to Patients with Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
Recent Department of Public Health state updates:
Georgia DPH: COVID-19 Health Advisories
Florida DPH: COVID-19 Guidance for Health Care Providers
North Carolina DHHS: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Response
Illinois DPH: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Please contact your local or state health department immediately to report a person under investigation for COVID-19. Directory of Local Health Departments
Information to proactively share with patients:
Many organizations are notifying patients via social media, patient portals and email that they are monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak via the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and local Department of Public Health (DPH) to mitigate any impact on patients, providers and staff. They are asking all patients and visitors who have a fever, symptoms of a respiratory infection, or have been exposed to a person with coronavirus to call the office and speak with a medical provider about symptoms and appropriate steps to receive medical care if warranted.
It’s always appropriate to remind patients the best ways to protect themselves and prevent the spread of these viruses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these include
- Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- If soap and water are not available, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash and washing your hands
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces
- Staying home when you are sick
Original Information February 20, 2020
In light of continued reporting of confirmed cases of COVID-19, MagMutual is advising its policyholders to stay up-to-date on the evolution of the coronavirus disease, and to be prepared to implement recommended evaluation, protective and patient treatment measures prior to a patient’s diagnosis, and/or admission to a healthcare facility.
CDC interim guidance, along with the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions, is provided for healthcare professionals and healthcare facilities on the CDC website and is being updated at frequent intervals. The CDC has also developed interim infection prevention and control recommendation and a printable flowchart for providers to identify and assess persons with 2019 Novel Coronavirus.
COVID-19 appears to be spread in the same manner as other respiratory viruses, including seasonal flu, with coughing and sneezing being a primary concern. The virus has a roughly 14-day incubation period, and there’s limited information to characterize the spectrum of the illness. If tested too early, the current tests for the infection can return a false-negative. Designated public health labs have been working with the CDC to develop a reliable fast-tracked coronavirus assessment, but there’s no timetable for when it will be deployed. No vaccine or specific treatment for COVID-19 infection is available at this time, and patient care is “supportive.”
The CDC clinical criteria for a COVID-19 person under investigation (PUI) have been developed based on what is known about MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV and are subject to change as additional information becomes available. Patients should be evaluated and discussed with public health departments on a case-by-case basis. For severely ill individuals, testing can be considered when exposure history is equivocal (e.g., uncertain travel or exposure, or no known exposure) and another etiology has not been identified.
In its interim guidelines, the CDC stresses healthcare providers should obtain a detailed travel history for patients being evaluated with fever and acute respiratory illness. Healthcare providers should immediately notify both infection control personnel at their healthcare facility and their local or state health department in the event of a “Person under Investigation” (PUI) for 2019-nCoV. Directory of Local Health Departments.
MagMutual will continue to monitor this disease and will provide updates as warranted.
- AMA Article (2/12/20): 8 ways to protect doctors caring for patients with COVID-19
- JAMA Resource Center: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- WHO Emergency Disease Center: Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak
The information provided in this resource does not constitute legal, medical or any other professional advice, nor does it establish a standard of care. This resource has been created as an aid to you in your practice. The ultimate decision on how to use the information provided rests solely with you, the PolicyOwner.