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Last Updated  8/5/2020


This website is intended to provide an overview and key documents, resources, tools and links to websites for the current outbreak of a 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. On Jan. 30, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) opens in a new tab declared 2019-nCoV a global health emergency. On March 11, it upgraded status to a global pandemic opens in a new tab.

In the U.S., Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services, pursuant to authority vested to him under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act, announced that a public health emergency exists effective Jan. 31, 2020. The determination was renewed on April 21. On July 20, the Secretary officially announced another 90-day extension of the emergency opens in a new tab, effective July 25.

Effective Feb. 11, the WHO renamed 2019-nCoV to COVID-19 opens in a new tab.  The CDC opens in a new tab has followed suit and updated its website with the new name.

  • Coronaviruses are common around the world and cause a range of illnesses in humans, from the common cold to SARS and MERS. Viruses of this family also cause disease in animals. CDC confirmed person-to-person transmission in the U.S on Jan. 30. opens in a new tab On Feb. 26, they confirmed a possible instance of community-spread opens in a new tab of the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • Complete CDC information and recommendations to date are available here opens in a new tab . The situation is unfolding dynamically; guidance will evolve.
  • CDC COVIDView opens in a new tab (April 5). A weekly COVID-19 surveillance report of U.S. cases. The report summarizes and interprets key indicators including information related to COVID-19 outpatient visits, emergency department visits, hospitalizations and deaths, as well as laboratory data.
  • CDC Recommendation Regarding the Use of Cloth Face Coverings, Especially in Areas of Significant Community-Based Transmission opens in a new tab (April 3).Given what is now known about asymptomatic transmission, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders.
  • CDC Coronavirus “Self-Checker” opens in a new tab. The purpose of the Coronavirus Self-Checker is to help you make decisions about seeking appropriate medical care. This system does not replace the judgment of healthcare professionals or the performance of any clinical assessment.
  • The WHO COVID-19 opens in a new tab outbreak website contains excellent videos on topics, such as, proper use, removal and disposal of PPE, and infographics for download. It also houses up-to-date facts and global statistics on the disease.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a list of EPA-registered disinfectants that are qualified for use against COVID-19 opens in a new tab on March 5. The SARS-CoV-2, is a coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Coronaviruses are enveloped viruses, meaning they are one of the easiest types of viruses to kill with the appropriate disinfectant product. Follow manufacturer’s direction for use of the product; pay close attention to the contact time (how long product must remain on the surface). Disinfect high touch surface areas frequently.
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) just released a memoon CMS website opens in a new tab stating, effective immediately, that all hospital inspections will focus solely on infection prevention and control procedures. This is a call to action for HCWs to ensure they are actively implementing comprehensive infection prevention and control practices. CMS provided a checklist PDF opens in a new tab to guide facilities how to prepare for potential inspection.


Other Resources

On March 13, CMS issued Guidance for Infection Control and Prevention of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Nursing Homes opens in a new tab. In brief, the guidance is to adhere to CDC current recommendations opens in a new tab regarding residents, staff and visitors. Long-term care facilities concerned that a resident, visitor or employee may be a COVID-2019 patient under investigation (PUI) opens in a new tab should contact their local or state health department immediately for consultation and guidance.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS):

Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH)

American Health Care Association (AHCA)

The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine (AMDA)

Surge capacity, meaning a facility’s or healthcare systems’ ability to handle a sudden increase in volume or demand, is fundamental to disaster preparedness. Surge capability is focused on meeting specialized needs, i.e., need for ICU care or specific care need, such as, isolation. Preparation is key.

Communities also have a key role to play as active participants in planning for and responding to local health care crises, such as COVID-19.

From April 2012 to July 2013, a novel new coronavirus caused respiratory illness in 81 adults (45 fatal) from four countries in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates), as well as France, Germany, Tunisia and the United Kingdom. (Updated case counts opens in a new tab). Symptoms included fever, cough and shortness of breath. The new virus was named the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus or (MERS-CoV). There is still limited information on transmission, severity and clinical impact. Thus far, all clusters of cases have occurred in a healthcare setting or among close family contacts. Human-to-human transmission was documented on several occasions in which secondary cases had not traveled to affected areas and is strongly suspected in others. In May 2014, there were two imported cases of MERS in travelers from Saudi Arabia to the US, however the cases were not linked. For more information, visit the CDC website on MERS opens in a new tab.