How to prepare for COVID-19

And who to call with questions
Posted at 10:21 PM, Mar 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-04 23:23:18-05

AKRON, Ohio — As Northeast Ohio prepares for the possibility of COVID-19, organizations are offering tips and precautions to help people prepare.

The Clinical Access Center at Summa Health in Akron typically handles phone calls for doctors’ offices in the Summa Health system. Now, Summa Health has opened a 24/7 dedicated phone line, manned by registered nurses, to answer questions and concerns about coronavirus.

People who are looking for information can call (234) 867-6314 to speak with a live clinical professional and get the most up-to-date information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Summa Health’s Infectious Diseases experts.

“We saw the need in the community with some general questions coming in and we wanted to provide that support,” said Sara Jewett, RN director of the Clinical Access Center.

That dedicated phone number for coronavirus support went live on Wednesday afternoon, and by the evening, Jewett said approximately two dozen people had called in with questions.

“Symptoms to look for, concerns in the community, should I be concerned going out to the grocery store,” Jewett said of some of the questions that were asked via phone.

Summa Health hopes this provides peace of mind to anyone who needs information.

“I think there is a sense of relief that they get through to a live person, [and] we’re able to give them the factual answers that they are looking for,” Jewett said.

With a lot still left to learn about COVID-19, these call-takers are here to help.

“I think while there’s a need in the community, we’re definitely here to support that need,” Jewett said.

Thinking about your pets

Being prepared for COVID-19 also means making plans for your pets.

“What we don’t want to do is create panic,” Sharon Harvey, president and CEO of the Cleveland Animal Protective League, said. “We want to create preparedness.”

What happens to your pets if you get sick? Do you have a plan?

“Is there a trusted family member, friend or pet-sitter that you can engage to take care of your pet in the event you’re not able to?” Harvey said.

Harvey said now is the time to get ready in case COVID-19 comes to Northeast Ohio, or in case of any other emergency or illness.

“Stock up on supplies like pet food, especially if your pet is on a prescription diet, is make sure you’re going to have enough for several weeks so that you can keep feeding your pet,” Harvey said.

She also urged people to have crates ready and make sure their pets are wearing ID tags or are microchipped, as well as reminding them to keep a list of their pets’ medications handy.

In case people have to consider boarding their pets, Harvey recommended making sure your pet is vaccinated and researching kennels.

“We’re just looking for people to plan ahead in the event something happens,” Harvey said.

While it’s not known yet if coronavirus can be transmitted from humans to pets, Harvey said it’s best to exercise caution.

“If you are diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus, just highly recommend that you wash your hands before you touch or feed your pet, that you not snuggle and kiss your pet, that you not sneeze or cough on your pet,” Harvey said. “Just basic preventive measures to protect, cause your pet, just like everything else in your house, too, is a surface. And it’s not easy to sanitize your pet, so it’s just better to prevent that contact.”