For the Sick, an agonizing wait for tests in Massachusetts – NBC Boston

Danni Aubain has cancer, so when she started feeling lousy late last month, she was particularly worried.

Aubain said the disease hit her like a ton of bricks. He had a 103-degree fever and a horrible, dry cough.

“I really couldn’t breathe,” he said, “and that’s scary for anyone undergoing chemotherapy.”

When seeking medical attention, Aubain said that both her oncologist and a Massachusetts General Hospital emergency room doctor pushed for her to be tested for COVID19, the new coronavirus disease that spreads worldwide.

But despite their recommendations, the response they got from state epidemiologists was that Aubain did not meet the test criteria.

“They called the Public Health Department and I was told that if I couldn’t name a person I knew had a positive test and that I hadn’t traveled outside the country, I couldn’t have been tested,” he said.

In response to NBC10 Boston’s questions, Mass. General said he cannot discuss the treatment of any patient.

But Aubain’s story is like so many others streamed to NBC10 Boston investigators in the past week by spectators across the state who have not been able to take a test. Many said they experienced symptoms of the disease, such as fever and shortness of breath. Like Aubain, some have also been seen by doctors who were convinced they need to be screened.

But with a shortage of test kits available in the state until the end of last week and with restrictive guidelines in place by the federal government, many said they were frustrated, scared and confused as to what to do next.

Federal officials are rapidly increasing the nation’s infrastructure to test COVID-19 this week after a series of missteps hampered the country’s ability to control the virus as it migrated from its epicenter in China to destinations around the world. As of Monday, there have been over 4,000 disease cases reported in the United States, which have so far seen over 70 deaths.

On Monday, health officials in Massachusetts announced that around 1,300 people were tested for the disease and 197 tested positive.

The state’s ability to test patients has increased significantly in the past few days when federal officials have granted Massachusetts clearance to begin testing the samples at the state’s public health laboratory, rather than sending them to a centralized, managed location. by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Federal officials also expanded their testing guidelines, offering doctors more discretion to order a test for the virus, and last week they shipped around 5,000 additional test kits to Massachusetts, easing local supply.

The CDC has also published new guidelines that allow doctors and nurses to subject a single nasal swab to tests, rather than a nasal swab and another sample from the patient’s throat. The change is expected to allow Massachusetts to double its testing capacity, bringing the number of tests conducted every day from 200 to 400, public health commissioner Monica Bharel said at a press conference on Sunday.

The Food and Drug Administration, which must approve the test sites, also granted permission at the end of last week to a couple of private companies – Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp – to begin testing samples collected from patients in Massachusetts. Massachusetts hospital labs are expected to launch their testing programs shortly.

“With more and more clinical labs in Massachusetts working to gain FDA approval, more online capabilities will also be available soon,” said Bharel on Sunday.

Federal officials say the United States is now on track to test thousands of patients a day for the virus after falling far behind other countries in its efforts to detect the virus.

Independent research cited by the CDC indicates that the United States had completed approximately 20,000 tests as of March 13. That number pales in comparison to the aggressive testing effort in South Korea, which has a much smaller population, but has tested around 15,000 people per day.

While the United States is ready to learn more about the extent of the pandemic soon, many in the Bay State who fear having contracted the disease say they believe the government has missed an important opportunity to help curb its spread.

“I have a couple of friends in my social circle who are experiencing flu-like symptoms and are just writing it as flu,” said Rita Czernewski, a Cantonese resident who had an unexplained illness a few weeks ago and was frustrated by her inability to get tested for the new coronavirus.

“We are just a little stuck,” he said. “The only thing we can do is just be careful.”

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Massachusetts has planned a pandemic for years. Here is what is expected. – NBC Boston

Flatten the curve.

You have probably heard public health officials repeat this phrase as they announce major cancellations and closures related to the new coronavirus pandemic.

So what exactly does that mean? And what can you do to help?

The “curve” refers to exponential growth in new cases that could occur if the virus can spread uncontrollably in the community.

A sharp spike in COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, could bring a stream of new patients, many of whom would need intensive care. Experts say the scenario would have overwhelmed the health system, making it more difficult to make life-saving treatments for all sick people.

The director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, dr. Anthony Fauci explains social distancing and how it can help slow the spread of coronavirus in elderly and immunocompromised patients.

That’s why it’s imperative to stop the transmission of the virus and slow it down in the coming weeks, said Dr. Davidson Hamer, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Boston School of Public Health.

Even if the same number of people contract the virus, doctors and nurses will have a greater chance of saving lives if the cases spread over a longer period of time.

“If there is a big wave all at once, then hospitals could run out of beds, run out of negative pressure rooms,” he said. “You know, if there are many patients on fans, potentially even running out of fans.”

State leaders have yet to indicate what could be a spike in COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts. In a press conference last week, Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said the state is now busy planning scenarios for “what could happen in Massachusetts.”

Governor Charlie Baker has announced that Massachusetts has established a command center for coronavirus response. Recognizing the empty shelves seen around Commonwealth food stores, he told people that there is no need to accumulate food.

The Massachusetts Hospital Association has forwarded NBC10 Boston’s questions to the Department of Public Health, which has not yet responded to requests for information on the state’s hospital capacity.

But previous state projections shed light on how serious a public health emergency in the Bay State can be.

In a 2006 flu pandemic preparedness plan, Massachusetts public health officials predicted that as many as 2 million people would fall ill following the emergence of a new respiratory disease.

Using the modeling developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state predicted that over 1 million people would have to be treated on an outpatient basis, based on the most likely scenario of how the pandemic would spread across the globe. state. The model predicted that over 80,000 people would have to be treated in a hospital and up to 20,000 could die, in part because the hospital system would be overwhelmed by a flood of cases.

As part of the preparation planning, public health officials in Massachusetts asked hospitals across the state to negotiate agreements to use other large facilities in their region, such as high schools and arsenals, such as so-called “alternative care sites”. The state plans to touch those facilities to treat patients with less severe cases of theoretical disease, allowing hospitals to focus only on the sickest patients.

Importantly, the new coronavirus that now plagues people around the world may not follow the same trajectory as that shown in the state’s projections. These numbers were based on the assumption that 30 percent of the population would contract the virus. This figure may be higher or lower as researchers collect more data on the virus causing COVID-19.

The president and vice president told the public that anyone who wants a test can get one, but dozens of people have contacted NBC10 Boston investigators to say it wasn’t their experience, including a chemotherapy patient.

Massachusetts’ population has also increased since the state made its forecasts, going from about 6.4 million in 2006 to about 6.9 million today.

Emergency measures put in place by Governor Charlie Baker and others could also mitigate the spike in the epidemic, Hamer said, drastically reducing the number of patients who need treatment simultaneously and potentially saving lives.

“If social distancing and personal hygiene and work at home and all these types of strategies don’t work and we have a very large number of cases in a short period of time, I think it could overwhelm the health care system,” he said.

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26 new coronavirus cases in Massachusetts take the total to 164 – NBC Boston

There are currently 164 coronavirus cases in Massachusetts, state health officials shared on Sunday, and the number of residents tested went from 475 to nearly 800.

The 26 new cases were announced in a Commonwealth attempt to speed up testing for coronavirus after restrictions have been relaxed on the test protocols.

New guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requires doctors only to present a nasal swab instead of presenting previously required nasal and throat swabs. With the modification of the clinical test protocols, the state laboratory test capacity has doubled from 200 to around 400 patients per day.

Massachusetts doctors also now have greater flexibility to determine which patients should be tested without having to call DPH’s Epi Line.

With multiple clinical laboratories in the Bay State working to obtain FDA approval, health officials say that even more testing capabilities will soon be available.

As of Sunday, the Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory has tested 799 patients, officials said, compared to 475 the previous day.

Forty-five of the 164 positive state cases were subsequently confirmed by the CDC.

Governor Charlie Baker is expected to provide an update on Sunday night about state testing efforts and what is being done to slow the spread of coronavirus in the Commonwealth.

Governor Baker and Governor Lieutenant Karyn Polito will join Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders and Commissioner of the Public Health Department Dr. Monica Bharel at the State House at 18:00. The Baker-Polito administration says that, contrary to popular rumors, it is not preparing a refuge in order.

Four of the 26 new cases announced on Sunday are related to the employee meeting held at a Boston hotel by Cambridge Biogen biotechnology company last month. Health officials say 108 of the 164 cases are now related to the February 24-27 meeting held at the Marriott Long Wharf hotel, which has since closed “in the interest of public health”.

In new cases, a healthcare professional is included at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. The hospital announced the case Sunday morning and said that patients and staff who may have had contact with the infected worker are being contacted.

Eight more cases are associated with travel, bringing the total to 13. Eight remain associated with a cluster in western Massachusetts and 35 of these are currently under investigation, health officials say.

Of the 164 cases in the state, 74 are women and 90 are men. Middlesex County residents still account for nearly half, 75 of the cases across the state. The counties of Norfolk and Suffolk both have 31 cases, while there are nine cases in County Berkshire. There are now six cases each in the Essex and Worcester counties.

The counties of Plymouth, Hampden, Barnstable and Bristol have one case each. Two cases are of unknown counties at the moment.

Two other patients have been hospitalized, bringing the total to 13 so far, although another 36 cases are listed as being investigated, according to Sunday’s data.

The update in coronavirus cases on Sunday came shortly after Boston Mayor Marty Walsh declared a public health emergency for the coronavirus epidemic and announced radical changes for bars and restaurants in the city in an attempt to protect residents.

Boston EMS urges people not to call 911 to request COVID-19 tests. People are asked to call their primary care providers, the mayor’s hotline at 617-534-5050 or the state DPH hotline at 211.

Virus-related symptoms include fever (100.4 ° F or higher), cough, breathing difficulties or shortness of breath.

Do you have coronavirus symptoms and want to get tested? We want to know your experience. Please share contact information with NBC10 Boston investigators here or email tips@nbcboston.com.

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The OC restaurant takes temperatures before allowing entry into the midst of Coronavirus Fears – NBC Los Angeles

Get ready to check your temperature if you want to eat at Sichuan Impression in Orange County or one of its sister restaurants in Alhambra and West Los Angeles.

Restaurant owner Lilly Lei began checking customer temperatures at the door with a portable infrared thermometer in late January in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

But customers are not alone in having to check the temperature. Employees are scanned twice a day and sent back home if their temperatures are abnormal.

The owner has friends and relatives in China and has seen how business has been affected, which has prompted her to act now.

In late January, the owner informed his customers of the protocol on the restaurant’s Instagram page. The post said it will start using an infrared thermometer on all customers who wish to eat in Sichuan Impression as a prevention and control measure.

View this post on Instagram

Notice to prevent and control Wuhan’s new coronavirus (nCoV) Our closest friends of the Sichuan impression, after a Washington state resident was diagnosed with the new coronavirus infection, a second American case was confirmed in Chicago on 24. On the same day, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a high-level tourist notice for the Hubei epidemic in China, recommending scheduled travelers to cancel any unnecessary travel in the area. (from BBC NEWS) As a Los Angeles-based Chinese restaurant that aims to thrive traditional Chinese culinary culture, Sichuan Impression pays close attention to the development of this new epidemic. According to reports, infections are rapidly spreading across China. We at Sichuan Impression respect and enjoy having our guests who come from all corners of the world. Offering you a healthy and safe dining environment is also confirmed as our top priority. After carefully evaluating, we wish to adopt the following prevention and control measures and we sincerely ask for the cooperation of each individual guest: 1. We will use the infrared thermometer to measure the temperature of each guest who comes to dinner; 2. If an abnormal symptom such as fever is identified, we will immediately contact the nearest medical service; 3. If you refuse to cooperate with temperature measurement, for the moment we have to regret the service negatively; 4. We encourage everyone to order to-go for the time being and we will offer a 5% discount for the whole order. It has been 6 years since Sichuan Impression opened and treating everyone who comes for dinner in the same way has always been our basic principle. We are grateful for your collaboration during this extraordinary period. Sichuan Impression 26.2020 January #sichuanimpression # 锦城 里

A post shared by Sichuan Impression (@sichuan_impression_) on

What may seem like an overly precautionary step is going well with customers.

“They monitor everyone who comes here and I think it’s helpful to avoid spreading the virus,” said restaurant customer Kim Nguyen.

The owner stated that he had not received any refoulement from customers or his employees.

“I think it’s a good idea because it makes people feel like the restaurant is taking care of them and making them responsible for not letting people with possible symptoms inside the restaurant,” said James Qian, a restaurant customer. .

This is not the only precaution that the restaurant has applied. Workers disinfect dirty dishes before removing them from the table, put on gloves while packing takeaway orders and cleaning chairs.

None of his employees got sick.

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Second US case of person who received a virus from the community – NBC Bay Area

THIS IS AN UPDATE OF BREAKING NEWS. AP’S FIRST STORY BELOW:

Health officials have confirmed the second case of new coronavirus in the United States that is believed to have been passed on to a person who has not traveled internationally or has come into close contact with whoever had it.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that officials are “aware of a second possible example of the spread of the COVID-19 community in California.” The CDC stated in a statement that the patient has given positive results to the virus and is considered an alleged positive case.

San Jose health officials said the patient was an older adult woman with chronic health conditions who had no travel history or known contact with a traveler or an infected person. It comes a day after state officials stated that a woman hospitalized at the UC Davis Health Center in Sacramento had contracted the disease after no known contact.

“This new case indicates that there is evidence of community transmission, but the extent is not yet clear,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County Health Officer and director of the County Health Department. Santa Clara.

Public health officer from Solano County, Dr Bela Matyas, said public health officials identified dozens of people, but fewer than 100, who had close contact with the woman. They are quarantined in their homes. and some who have shown symptoms are isolated, Matyas said.

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On Friday, health officials confirmed another case of the new coronavirus in Northern California, raising the count the day after health officials revealed that the first case in the United States was believed to have been passed on to a person who was not traveling on the level. international or whoever had it wasn’t in close contact.

Santa Clara County Public Health Department spokesman Maury Kendall said the person was isolated at home and further details would be given on Friday.

The day before, public health officials had hooked the number of people in California with the virus to 33 years after investigators announced that a woman hospitalized in Sacramento had contracted him.

Residents of the community where the woman first went to the hospital in Vacaville are at the epicenter of what officials are calling a breakthrough in the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus,

As infectious disease experts opened up in Vacaville, some residents of the city of 100,000 stocked up amid fears, things could get worse despite official reassurances, while others took it slow.

Vacaville is located between San Francisco and Sacramento in Solano County, in the central agricultural valley and close to the famous California wine region.

It is located approximately 10 miles (16 kilometers) from Travis Air Force Base, which was used as a virus quarantine location. Public health officials said they could not find any links between the infected woman and the passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship who were evacuated to the base when the ship was docked in Japan.

The case of the infected woman marks an escalation of the global epidemic in the United States because it means that the virus could spread beyond the scope of preventive measures such as quarantine, even if state health officials have stated that it was inevitable and that the risk of a diffuse transmission remains low.

California public health officials reported on Friday that 8,700 people are self-monitoring after arriving on commercial flights from China through Los Angeles and San Francisco. It is from 8,400 that Governor Gavin Newsom quoted Thursday, although officials said that the number increases every day as more flights arrive.

Public health officer from Solano County, Dr Bela Matyas, said public health officials identified dozens of people – but fewer than 100 – who had close contact with the woman. They are quarantined in their homes and some who have shown symptoms are isolated, Matyas said.

Officials are not too concerned, for now, about occasional contact, because federal officials think coronavirus only spreads through “close contact, being less than a meter away from someone for what they call an extended period of time”, said Dr. James Watt, interim state epidemiologist at the California Department of Public Health.

The virus can cause fever, cough, wheezing and pneumonia. Health officials think it mainly spreads from the droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to the spread of the flu.

“I will definitely wear my mask and gloves at work because I am a server,” said bowling worker Denise Arriaga of Vacaville, who said she doesn’t care if she is criticized for additional precautions.

“At the end of the day, it’s my life,” he said.

The woman first sought treatment at Vacaville North VacayValley Hospital in Vacaville before her condition worsened and was transferred to the medical center.

The confusion about how quickly she was tested for coronavirus was about McKinsey Paz, who works for a private security company in Vacaville. The company has already accumulated 450 face masks and is attempting additional “since they are difficult to find”. The company owner purchased enough cleaning and disinfectant products to clean up the office and ship them home with employees.

But they seemed to be at an extreme for preparations.

Eugenia Kendall wore a face mask, but she feared anything, including the common cold. His immune system is compromised because he is undergoing chemotherapy and has been taking such precautions for some time.

“We are not paranoid. We are just trying to be practical,” said 31-year-old husband Ivan Kendall. “We clean the shopping carts if they have them, and when I get back in the car I clean my hands – and I only hope for the best.”

In their investigation into the hospitalized woman’s movements, officials were trying to figure out how she had taken it and who else it might have inadvertently infected.

They are interviewing immediate family members and expanding their network to include more distant family members who may have been in contact, social gatherings such as the church the patient may have attended and any possible time spent at work or events such as a concert.

In addition to the woman, all the other 59 cases in the United States were for people who traveled abroad or had close contact with others who traveled.

Previous cases in the United States included 14 people who had returned from epidemic areas in China or their spouses; three people who were evacuated from the city of Wuhan in central China; and 42 American passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

The global tally of those affected by the virus hovered around 83,000 on Friday and caused over 2,800 deaths, most of them in China.

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Beam reported from Sacramento, California.

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science Department. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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