2019 Novel Coronavirus: COVID 19

Last updated: March 29, 2020

Late last year, a novel or new coronavirus was identified in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China (World Health Organization [WHO], 2020a) which is causing increasing numbers of illness and death  around the world. This new virus outbreak, a "public health emergency of international concern", has now been declared a “global pandemic” by the WHO. Situation reports from the WHO - updated daily - can be viewed  here

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Changes in Licensure and Scope of Practice from State Boards of Nursing

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, state boards of nursing are modifying their licensure requirements and scope of practice in order to meet the patient surge. Click on your state below to visit the website of your board of nursing and find out if there has been a change in your licensure requirements or scope of practice.
 
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Background

coronavirus-2.jpgCoronaviruses, a large family of viruses named for their spiked surfaces that resemble crowns, can cause a range of symptoms from the common cold to severe respiratory illness. The new coronavirus disease, abbreviated COVID-19, appears to be highly contagious. You may recall the public health crises that occurred with the outbreaks of two other coronaviruses that originated in animals and subsequently infected people: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV) in 2002 and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) in 2012. As two points of comparison, over an eight month period (November 2002 to July 2003), there were over 8,000 cases of SARS-CoV, with over 770 fatalities (WHO, 2003), roughly a 10% mortality rate. To date, MERS-CoV has affected over 2,400 people in 27 countries, including over 850 deaths (WHO, 2020b), with an approximate mortality rate of 35%.

The 2019 novel coronavirus, previously called “2019-nCoV” is now termed SARS-CoV-2 due to its similar genetic make-up to SARS-CoV. The virus can cause COVID-19, with symptoms such as fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, breathing difficulties, body aches, nasal congestion, sore throat or diarrhea (WHO, 2020a). Symptoms may be mild and appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure (CDC, 2020). Most people (80%) will fully recover without needing special treatment, while one out of six people will become very ill (WHO, 2020a). Older individuals and those with underlying medical problems like cardiac disease, lung disorders or diabetes, are at a higher risk of developing serious illness.

COVID-19 can spread through small droplets from the nose or mouth when a person with the disease coughs or exhales. It is important to stay 6 feet away from any person who is sick, wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand rub, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth, and face with unwashed hands. Vigilant infection control practices coupled with early identification and treatment may help prevent the spread of this virus and potentially decrease the morbidity and mortality that has resulted from its predecessors.
References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). 2019 Novel Coronavirus, Wuhan, China. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/symptoms.html

World Health Organization (2003). Summary of probable SARS cases with onset of illness from 1 November 2002 to 31 July 2003. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/csr/sars/country/table2004_04_21/en/