Priscilla Alfaro, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Zelis

As we know, “the one constant is change,” which is truly relevant during the current COVID-19 pandemic.  Information about this novel coronavirus and updates on both the local and national response to this pandemic are daily, if not hourly, which is why Zelis monitors the clinical facts and local, state and national responses and recommendations.  Using reputable references, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), Johns Hopkins, state and local public health websites and other clinical entities, Zelis has been able to provide timely input and guidance to associates and clients.

Coronaviruses are not new.  We know they tend to cause respiratory symptoms such as MERS and SARS.  However, COVID-19 is a new strain and we have learned that though the risk of complications is higher in our elderly population with chronic underlying conditions, it is also affecting our younger population.  Initially, the guidance was on preventative measures such as hand washing for 20 seconds, avoiding touching your face and shaking hands.  However, as a society, in order to flatten the curve and decrease the impact to our healthcare system, social distancing has been widely implemented.  We have seen schools, dine-in restaurants, bars and gyms close; people moving to work from home; and closing our borders to ensure we minimize the spread of this contagious virus.  It is important that social distancing not become or be interpreted as social isolation.  We should still keep in touch with our family, friends and neighbors through virtual communication tools and by phone.

While the U.S. ramps up testing availability, PPE and ventilator supplies, and determining safe and effective treatment options, we are advised to stay home to lessen the continual spread of COVID-19, especially to our more vulnerable population.  This new reality is requiring that we all practice flexibility, patience and creativity.  By staying physically apart, we will get through this together.

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