About COVID-19/Self Care
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines COVID-19 as a respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus. The virus has been named "SARS-CoV-2," and the disease it causes has been named "coronavirus disease 2019" (abbreviated as COVID-19).
New York Tech is following guidelines from national, state, and local agencies in response to COVID-19, including the New York State Governor’s New York State on PAUSE executive order.
To reduce transmission of the coronavirus, everyone should continue to follow these general precautions to avoid becoming infected or spreading the virus by:
- Frequently washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Avoid shaking hands.
- Disinfect frequently touched objects using a household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Avoid travelling and contact with others if you are sick.
Symptoms can result from infections of the upper or lower respiratory tract, including runny nose, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, coughing, fever, and pneumonia. If you have any of these symptoms and have been to any high-risk areas as determined by the CDC or have been in close contact with someone who has been infected, it is recommended you contact the nearest emergency room and go for an evaluation.
Stay home. If you do not feel better in 24-48 hours, contact your health care provider. People who have these symptoms should stay home and maintain a safe social distance from others, particularly those who are older adults or have chronic conditions. Stay home until you are fever-free for 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication
No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria. The new COVID-19 is a virus, and therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment.
Self-monitoring means checking yourself for fever and remaining alert for cough, shortness of breath, or other cold or flu-like symptoms. People who have these symptoms should stay home and maintain a safe social distance from others.
People determined by a local health department who are a close contact of a COVID-19 case. Health care providers will recommend people to self-monitor.
This is determined by the local health department. However, according to the CDC, a close contact is defined as: being within approximately 6 feet of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time; close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a health care waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case; OR having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on).
According to the New York State Department of Health: "The status for required mandatory quarantine is a person who has been in close contact (6 feet) with someone who is positive, but is not displaying symptoms for COVID-19; OR traveled to China, Iran, Japan, South Korea, or Italy and is displaying symptoms of COVID-19."
According to the New York State Department of Health: "The status for required mandatory isolation is a person that has tested positive for COVID-19, whether or not displaying symptoms for COVID-19."
According to the CDC, "Household members, intimate partners, and caregivers in a non-health care setting may have close contact with a person with symptomatic, laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 or a person under investigation. Close contacts should monitor their health; they should call their health care provider right away if they develop symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 (e.g., fever, cough, shortness of breath)."
The CDC shares that close contacts should follow these recommendations:
- Make sure that you understand and can help the patient follow their health care provider's instructions for medication(s) and care.
- Help the patient with basic needs in the home and provide support for getting groceries, prescriptions, and other personal needs.
- Monitor the patient's symptoms. If the patient is getting sicker, call his or her health care provider and tell them that the patient has laboratory-confirmed COVID-19. This will help the health care provider's office take steps to keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting infected.
- Ask the health care provider to call the local or state health department for additional guidance. If the patient has a medical emergency and you need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that the patient has or is being evaluated for COVID-19.
- Household members should stay in another room or be separated from the patient as much as possible. Household members should use a separate bedroom and bathroom, if available.
- Prohibit visitors who do not have an essential need to be in the home.
- Household members should care for any pets in the home. Do not handle pets or other animals while sick. For more information, see COVID-19 and Animals.
- Make sure that shared spaces in the home have good air flow, such as by an air conditioner or an opened window, weather permitting.
- Perform hand hygiene frequently. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60% to 95% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- The patient should wear a facemask when near other people. If the patient is not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), you, as the caregiver, should wear a mask when you are in the same room as the patient.
- Wear a disposable facemask and gloves when you touch or have contact with the patient's blood, stool, or body fluids, such as saliva, sputum, nasal mucus, vomit, and urine. Throw out disposable face masks and gloves after using them. Do not reuse. When removing personal protective equipment, first remove and dispose of gloves. Then, immediately clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Next, remove and dispose of facemask and immediately clean your hands again with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid sharing household items with the patient. You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding, or other items. After the patient uses these items, you should wash them thoroughly.
- Clean all "high-touch" surfaces, such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables, every day. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.
- Wash laundry thoroughly. Immediately remove and wash clothes or bedding that have blood, stool, or body fluids on them. Wear disposable gloves while handling soiled items and keep soiled items away from your body. Clean your hands (with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer) immediately after removing your gloves. Read and follow directions on labels of laundry or clothing items and detergent. In general, using a normal laundry detergent according to washing machine instructions and dry thoroughly using the warmest temperatures recommended on the clothing label.
- Place all used disposable gloves, facemasks, and other contaminated items in a lined container before disposing of them with other household waste. Clean your hands (with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer) immediately after handling these items. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
- Discuss any additional questions with your state or local health department or health care provider. Check available hours when contacting your local health department.
Depending on staffing availability, a local health department may engage in contact tracing of someone who is found to be positive for the COVID-19 virus. Contact tracing is generally limited to the close contacts of the person found to be positive for the COVID-19 virus. Contact tracing is generally not provided to people who have come in contact with the "close contacts."
In addition to your local resources, the physicians and staff at the Academic Health Centers are available to answer your questions. Call us at 516.686.1300.
It is also understandable that members of our New York Tech community may have concerns about a new and unfamiliar illness. If you are feeling anxious or uneasy, please reach out to Counseling and Wellness Services at our campuses in Long Island (516.686.7683) or New York City (212.261.1773) to talk or make a virtual appointment.