Avalon City Council gets update on coronavirus

This public domain illustration, created in 2020 at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. In this view, the protein particles E, S and M, also located on the outer surface of the particle, have all been labeled as well. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China, in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Artwork by Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM

The Avalon City Council received a presentation about the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak at the agency’s special March 2 meeting.

Later this week the governor of California declared a state of emergency because of the coronoavirus.

Technically, the official name of the disease is Covid-19. It is one of many coronaviruses.

Dr. Heesun Choi, who described herself as the emergency attending physician with UC on Catalina Island, gave the presentation.

City Manager Denise Radde said the city had been having weekly telephone conferences with the Centers for Disease Control and the LA County Public Health Department concerning the coronavirus.

A link to the CDC website about the virus is available on the city’s website, as is a copy of Dr. Choi’s presentation. Radde said the CDC website has great information about how the disease spreads, the symptoms and how the CDC is trying to control it.

Radde said the city had been receiving calls about the disease and she had asked the Catalina Island Medical Center for a presentation.

Choi said coronavirus is not a new virus. The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 is part of a large group of viruses.

According to Choi’s presentation, coronaviruses such as MERS and SARS circulate in a range of animals.

Scientists are not sure where the 2019 novel coronavirus comes from.

According to her slide presentation, as of Feb. 13, the mortality rate for SARS was 9.6 percent, for swine flu 0.02 percent, for ebola 39.52 percent. For the novel coronavirus from Wuhan China, 2.3 percent.

The source for the slide data was identified as the World Health Organization and the medical journal The Lancet.

Based on information for the 24 hours prior to the Monday City Council meeting, Choi’s slide presentation put the number of cases worldwide at 83,652 confirmed cases. Within China, there were 2,791 deaths. Outside of China, 4,691 cases had been confirmed, as had 67 deaths.

Choi said there had been four confirmed cases of person-to-person transmission. According to Choi, the groups most at risk for getting novel coronavirus are people who work with animals and people who work at hospitals.

“Like me,” she said.

She said symptoms may be mild to severe. Choi said a person might have mild symptoms and not know they had coronavirus.

The symptoms:

• fever

• coughing

• shortness of breath

If a patient is compromised, a patient could develop pneumonia, kidney failure or die.

Choi said there was no Covid-19 testing at the Catalina Island Medical Center.

The hospital sends swabs to the Los Angeles County Health Department.

According to Choi, there is no specific medication for the disease.

She suggested drinking lots of water. She said if you have had flu-like symptoms recently, you should remain at home.

Choi recommended standard hygiene measures to minimize your risks.

Choi showed the council two different kinds of masks—one put on patients to prevent the patients from transmitting a disease to others and one to protect health care workers from being exposed.

“If you hare healthy and you don’t have symptoms, you don’t have to wear these masks, OK?” Choi said.

For more information, Choi recommended going to the World Health Organization website and the Los Angeles County Health Alert Network.

In response to a question from a member of the public about transmission about a cruise ship, Choi said the virus does not travel through air vents.

According to Choi, if a person with the disease touched a surface and that surface wasn’t well cleaned, another person could be infected by touching that surface.

Choi described the cruise ship as confined area. She went on to say that the building in which the Avalon City Council was having its meeting was a confined area.

Mayor Anni Marshall asked about cruise ship protocols for dealing the virus.

City Manager Radde said the cruise ships have been given three pages of protocols by the CDC.

In response to a question about whether Avalon had a plan if there was a coronavirus case on Catalina Island, Choi said that if a person on a ship is suspected of having coronavirus, that person would not be allowed to leave their cabin.

Choi said if there was a coronavirus case on Catalina, the hospital had an isolation room.

According to Avalon Fire Chief Mike Krug, a patient might be confined at home or taken to a hospital depending on the circumstances. If a patient’s symptoms were severe, it might be best to take that person to the hospital.

Krug said that, in a sense, this was not new, as the Island went through this issue with SARS and even with a heavy flu season.

Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Jim Luttjohann said that both at work and at home he is wiping down door knobs, wiping down hand hails and Chamber staff are keeping sanitizer on their desks.