‘Three threats at once’: California urges caution amid spread of RSV, COVID, flu
The new coronavirus outbreak is the greatest public-health emergency the state has faced in decades, including several years of catastrophic wildfires, and Gov. Gavin Newsom and state epidemiologists are urging hospitals and nursing homes to be prepared because the virus may spread rapidly if the right conditions are present, according to a statement released Tuesday.
The governor had issued a “stay at home” directive earlier this month that put a limit on people who could leave their homes and urged residents to avoid non-essential travel and stay at home if they are feeling sick before visiting a doctor or when seeking treatment at a public facility.
New rules issued Tuesday by the state Department of Public Health seek to expand that “open house” period to a week, expanding it to all areas of the state.
“If you are sick, stay home. If you can safely work from home, be sure to do that. But if you have to go out, you should do that with the help of a licensed health care provider and where available, an in-person visit to a health care facility for testing, evaluation, treatment, and isolation,” the new guidance states.
The state guidance comes in addition to the order California and the nation issued last week limiting the number of travelers who can come into the country from China and other parts of the world.
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Public health officials are in a state of “emergency mode,” so much so that they’ve been scrambling to update their protocols to cope with an outbreak that now is a week old — a week that could see as many as 1 million people infected and as many as 40,000 deaths in the United States, depending on where the outbreak ends up in the coming days.
The governor called off a previously scheduled statewide address on Tuesday after state leaders began to grapple with the unprecedented situation. Newsom had planned to explain the latest developments in the coronavirus outbreak, calling for “a better way to live together in a healthier and less stressful way.”
“While the virus may not be as deadly as seasonal flu, the fear it will cause is real,” Newsom said in an announcement Tuesday afternoon. “