Considering the news regarding the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), NAMI released the following information.
As of today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), notes the following in terms of risk assessment:
- For most people, the immediate risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low. This virus is not currently widespread in the United States.
- People in places where ongoing community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported are at elevated risk of exposure, with increase in risk dependent on the location.
- Health care workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure.
- Close contacts of persons with COVID-19 also are at elevated risk of exposure.
- Travelers returning from affected international locations where community spread is occurring also are at elevated risk of exposure, with increase in risk dependent on the location. The CDC recommends avoiding non-essential travel to several countries. Before traveling, consult travel guidance from the CDC.
NAMI offers these tips for people with mental illness:
- For anyone who is unsure about attending therapy sessions outside the home, especially those who the CDC has described as being at higher risk, you can ask your health care provider about tele-therapy or mental health services online.
- For anyone who is worried about access to prescribed medications, you can ask your health care provider about getting 90-day supplies vs. a 60 or 30-day supply. If this is not possible, we encourage you to refill your medications as soon as they are allowed.Note: If healthcare providers deny/decline making accommodations, challenge the decisions at least three times. Decision-makers on making health plan adjustments may change if/as conditions worsen.
- Listen to and follow your local public health care provider expectations.
- Provide self-care, especially if in the higher risk population as defined by the CDC. Pay attention to emerging symptoms. Reach out to family and friends.
The NAMI HelpLine Coronavirus Information and Resources Guide may be helpful if you have additional questions or concerns.
NAMI also strongly encourages people to not only check the CDC website daily for updates, but also to listen for updates from local news and public health care providers.
The CDC offers these basic tips while at work:
- Find out about your employer’s plans if an outbreak of flu or another illness occurs and whether flu vaccinations are offered on-site.
- Routinely clean frequently touched objects and surfaces, including doorknobs, keyboards and phones, to help remove germs.
- Make sure your workplace has an adequate supply of tissues, soap, paper towels, alcohol-based hand rubs and disposable wipes.
- Train others on how to do your job so they can cover for you in case you or a family member gets sick and you must stay home.
- If you begin to feel sick while at work, go home as soon as possible.
Learn more about how you can help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses at work.
For more information, the CDC’s COVID-19 Situation Summary page provides updates as information becomes available.