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Coronavirus COVID-19 Statement

For release: 3/10/2020

From the desk of Betsey O’Brien, Executive Director

Dear All,

If you have watched TV or listened to the radio you have heard a lot of distressing news about the novel coronavirus also known as COVID-19. Having confirmed cases in the state only adds to the stress and makes us susceptible to fear and misinformation.

SC has not declared a state of emergency in response to the coronavirus case, it is important to remember that when this happens it sounds frightening, but it will happen out of an abundance of caution and allow those in the state to get help if they need it. In 2019, South Carolina had an estimated population of 5,148,714; as of Monday 3/9/2020, 7 people were reportedly affected by the virus.

Although NAMI Piedmont Tri-County is taking the COVID-19 seriously, we also want to make sure the people who we serve, those with mental health challenges and those who love them, don’t miss out on the information and support we have to offer.

To that end, NAMI Piedmont Tri-County will continue all classes, support groups, and presentations unless otherwise advised by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) or South Carolina DHEC. Please read below for what NAMI is doing to keep staff, volunteers and those we serve healthy, what the CDC and SCDHEC are saying about the outbreak and what you can do if the news of the virus, or any other news, is causing you stress, anxiety or panic.

It is important to remember: For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.

People in communities where ongoing community spread with the virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported are at elevated though still relatively low risk of exposure.

NAMI Piedmont Tri-County is following the advice of the CDC and SCDHEC by:

Asking all of our employees, volunteers and program participants to stay home if they are feeling sick, especially if the symptoms are those related to the coronavirus or the flu. (See below for a list of those).

Keeping using hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, Kleenex and anti-bacterial soap and encouraging people to use them frequently.

We will wipe down all touched surfaces such as doorknobs and tabletops with sanitizing wipes at our meeting locations.

The symptoms of the novel coronavirus are:

Mild to severe respiratory illness, Fever, Cough, Shortness of Breath

What to do if you have symptoms:

If you develop symptoms, call your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms. Do not go into the doctor’s office or hospital unless your healthcare provider asks you to.

If your symptoms are mild and you are not sick enough to be hospitalized, you are able to isolate at home. Please follow the CDC guidance to reduce your risk of spreading it to others.

If your symptoms are severe or life-threatening, call 911

How you can protect yourself and others from the spread of coronavirus or any other respiratory disease:

Wash your hands, often and for at least 20 seconds (about the time it takes to sing the alphabet, the birthday song or anything by Beyonce.)

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Get your flu vaccine if you have not already.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

Cover any cough or sneeze with a tissue then throw it in the trash or use the inside of your elbow.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Make sure you have the kinds of foods, drinks, medication and pet supplies you would want if you needed to stay home and limit your contact with other people for a couple of weeks.

STAY HOME IF YOU ARE SICK – with symptoms for COVID 19 or the flu

Get to know your neighbors, especially those who might need extra help like seniors or people living alone.

Ways to Avoid Headline Anxiety and to Cope with the News:

from https://www.nm.org/healthbeat/healthy-tips/5-ways-to-cope-with-the-news and

https://www.calmmoment.com/wellbeing/how-to-cope-when-the-news-makes-you-feel-stressed-and-depressed/

1. Avoid triggering topics in the news.

2. Limit your news consumption.

3. Be cognizant of your social media use.

4. Practice good stress management.

5. Understand that it is normal to be somewhat concerned by this.

For up-to-date information about COVID 19 please refer to scdhec.gov and/or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html or

From a local SC MD: 🦠There’s anxiety about the lack of widespread testing. This will not be fixed overnight. It’s a country of 300M ppl. Test results only impact isolation and quarantine. 🦠If you think you have COVID, isolate yourself.

🦠🦠🦠so to recap:🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠

🦠if you are mildly ill, stay home and self-isolate

🦠if you are Moderately ill need and need to be seen in an ED, call ahead and mask. Do not go to the ED just for testing.

🦠80-85% will have mild, self-limited illness. Isolate at home

🦠The most helpful thing you can do is help to calm the community.

🦠This will be life-disrupting for a while. Settle in. We’re ALL working as hard and as quickly as we can. Grace is helpful. Anger is not. Stay calm. Keep your germs to yourself. Limit large gatherings. It’s going to be ok but it’s going to be bumpy for a while.

Please stay safe and protect your mental health.

Yours sincerely,

Betsey O’Brien

Executive Director

NAMI Piedmont Tri-County

#JoinTheMovement

Saturday, October 10, 2020 ~ Cherry Park

World Mental Health Day (WHO)

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