HOUSTON – Dr. Dennis Daniels, director of Prairie View A&M University Undergraduate Medical Academy, answers KPRC viewer questions about coronavirus.
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1. If a warehouse business had two positive cases of the virus disclosed on Saturday, how long should they shutdown, before allowing employees back. This warehouse has over 100 employees.
The contacts of the confirmed cases should contact the local/state public health officials along with their physician to share information regarding the nature of their exposure along with any signs and symptoms. The sharing of information will result in directions for a physician visit and testing. The public health officials will provide guidance to the warehouse administration.
2. Since screenings are now being done in the area for anyone- even without symptoms, does that mean that all the healthcare providers & first responders have been tested?
No, it does not mean that all healthcare providers and first responders have been tested. In a CDC report released Tuesday, more than 9,000 healthcare workers across the United States have contracted COVID-19 as of last week. Reporting of healthcare provider data is uneven across the United States.
3. How long does coronavirus live on fabrics, like people’s clothes? Thank you.
Although the CDC says that COVID-19 is typically transmitted through respiratory droplets (from an infected person sneezing or coughing) rather than through objects and materials that can transfer the virus if they become contaminated, CDC guidelines note that the virus may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials including clothing.
4. Does the virus affect dogs and cats?
The CDC states that the first case of an animal testing positive for the virus in the United States was a tiger that had a respiratory illness at a zoo in New York City. Currently there is no evidence that companion animals including pets, can spread the virus that causes COVID-19 to people or that may be a source of infection in the United States.
5. What are some ways I can sterilize my mask if I want to reuse it in public?
The CDC recommends that the cloth mask, worn by persons in the public, is washed at least once a day. Single-use masks (e.g. paper surgical masks) are to be discarded.
6. Can we yet rule out the possibility that coronavirus may also be transmitted in the air (EXAMPLE: through air conditioning & heating systems within apartment complexes & nursing home situations?
The possibility that coronavirus may be transmitted through air conditioning and heating systems within apartment complexes can not be ruled out. A report (e.g. Singapore) demonstrated that swab analysis revealed traces of coronavirus. Current CDC evidence regarding the mode of transmission reveals that COVID-19 is typically transmitted through respiratory droplets (from an infected person sneezing or coughing). Research continues and information continues to be gained by members of the scientific community.
7. Hello. My husband and I are in our 70s. My son and his family went to the bay house and I’m sure they are not social distancing. They have a four and five-year-old. Should we stay away from the babies when they come back to town? We usually keep the babies at our house several days a week. Thank you.
The guidelines put forth by local/state public health authorities should be followed and take into account information regarding vulnerable populations. Vulnerable populations include senior citizens and people with underlying health conditions such as cardiovascular illness, diabetes, or immunosuppressed people.
8. Is there any data that shows that people who took the two pneumonia shots have protection from the virus?
According to the World Health Organization, vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against COVID-19.
9. My granddaughter had to go to and was released from the ER Friday for possible appendicitis. Should we quarantine ourselves from her for the 14 days since she was in a facility where coronavirus is being treated?
Local/state health authorities’ guidance should be adhered to regarding distancing and senior citizens with added attention to those who may have underlying conditions.
10. Is it true that if my children get coronavirus, they will have to be in hospital alone without us?
Hospitals in the Texas Medical Center and the Houston metropolitan area have instituted visitor policies as far back as March 2020. The visitor policies include not allowing visitors with exceptions for women in labor and pediatric patients. A parent is allowed to visit pediatric patients. The visitor (e.g. parent) to pediatric patients may be required to submit to screening upon arrival to the hospital.