As public health officials assess the risk of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is closely monitoring the spread of the virus throughout the United States and around the world, and actively evaluating the potential implications for people with cystic fibrosis. The number of cases of COVID-19 in the United States is growing, and though the current immediate threat is low for the general population, it is believed that people who have underlying chronic medical conditions, such as CF, may be at risk for more serious complications from COVID-19.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 is currently thought to spread primarily through person-to-person contact through droplets that enter the mouths or noses of people who are nearby (within six feet) when someone coughs or sneezes. It also may be possible that COVID-19 can be spread to someone who touches a surface or an object that has the virus on it and then touches their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. Symptoms of COVID-19 generally seem to appear within 14 days after exposure and include:
- Shortness of breath
Contact your health care provider if you develop symptoms or for specific guidance related to your health.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. (The CF Foundation recommends that if you can't cough or sneeze into a tissue, cough or sneeze into the crook of your arm. Wash or sanitize your hands after disposing the tissue.)
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
The CF Foundation also recommends people with CF consider rescheduling travel plans to areas where there has been person-to-person transmission of COVID-19.
To protect the health and wellbeing of the CF community and Foundation staff, the Foundation has come to the difficult decision to cancel next week's in-person Volunteer Leadership Conference (VLC) and is redesigning aspects of the program for a virtual event that will take place Friday, March 13 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET.