Newswise — Frontline Worker Story — Lolita Moore — “I like that I can still be out helping people during the pandemic.”

Video: Right Here, Right Now | Lolita Moore, Safety and Security Officer, SPO, Sibley Memorial Hospital

It seems there will never be enough “thank-yous” for the incredible doctors, nurses, technicians and support staff members who are working around the clock to help patients who have COVID-19, the dangerous coronavirus disease. Their dedication, determination and spirit enable Johns Hopkins to deliver the promise of medicine.

As the mother of a 2-year-old, with responsibilities that sometimes require escorting COVID-19 patients at Sibley Memorial Hospital, Safety and Security Officer, SPO, Lolita Moore says she takes the necessary steps to protect herself and her family against the virus and prays daily. “I like that I can still be out helping people during the pandemic,” she says.

Lolita is available for interviews about how she’s continuing to help our patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Patient Recovers After 46 Days Battling COVID-19 at The Johns Hopkins Hospital

One Saturday, back in March, 56-year-old Theirrien “Tee” Clark felt tired and slept all day. He and his wife, Marcy Myles-Clark, thought it might have just been another busy week at work. Then, a cough developed; then a fever. Both Tee and Marcy were eventually diagnosed with COVID-19.

Marcy, who had a milder case, started to feel better. However, Tee’s condition continued to get worse. He went to Howard County General Hospital, where an X-ray showed he had COVID-19-related pneumonia. He was admitted, placed on a ventilator, and soon transferred to The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Tee spent a total of 28 days on a ventilator in an intensive care unit (ICU). Marcy says there were several tough moments during that time. Tee’s condition was so grave at one point, she was allowed to don protective gear to safely visit him in the hospital. Fortunately, he made it through. Marcy believes that a 100-plus person international prayer group she formed, called the “TC Prayer Warriors,” made all the difference in getting them through the ordeal.

Both during and after Tee’s ICU stay, a team of physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, rehabilitation physicians and psychologists provided intensive rehabilitation services to rebuild his muscles and improve his endurance, swallowing and voice — all of which were severely affected by COVID-19 —as well as help with anxiety that developed as a result of his illness.

After 46 days, Tee left the hospital on May 6. He lost 40 pounds and had muscle weakness, but both he and Marcy were happy and thankful they could still celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary, which was the day before his hospital release. Marcy says his doctors called him a “walking miracle.”

Tee and Marcy Clark as well as Johns Hopkins Medicine physicians and staff are available for media interviews.

 

Have You Heard? Middle Ear, Mastoid Harbor Sars-Cov-2 and May Pose Risk for Medical Staffs

A team of otolaryngologists and pathologists at Johns Hopkins Medicine has confirmed that SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus behind the current COVID-19 pandemic, can colonize the middle ear and mastoid region of the head behind the ear. Based on this, the team recommends that physicians, surgeons, nurses and other health care professionals — especially otolaryngologists — should practice recommended protective procedures against SARS-CoV-2 when dealing with examination, sample collecting, treatment and surgery of these two connected areas.

The physicians reported their findings in a research letter posted online on July 23, 2020, in JAMA Otolaryngology.

“Previously, medical personnel in the otolaryngology world only had a theoretical risk on which to base a decision whether or not to follow guidelines against SARS-CoV-2,” says C. Matthew Stewart, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of otolaryngology–head and neck surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and co-author of the letter. “Now that we have proven the virus can survive in the middle ear and mastoid, professionals in our community know the threat is real and can guard against it with appropriate procedures and protective equipment.”

The mastoid bone, located in the temporal region of the skull, contains a number of hollowed spaces known as mastoid air cells. These are believed to cushion the area against trauma, protect the delicate structures of the middle and inner ear, and regulate ear pressure. In humans, the middle ear contains the three tiny bones called the ossicles — more commonly known individually as the anvil, hammer and stirrup — that direct sound waves from the outside into the inner ear for processing.

In their study, the Johns Hopkins researchers autopsied three patients who had tested positively for SARS-CoV-2 and were symptomatic for COVID-19 prior to death. Stewart says that using powered instruments during the autopsies would have posed a dangerous risk for creating infectious droplets and aerosols, so the team relied on hand tools and techniques from the early 1900s to take bone and mucosal specimens from the left and right mastoids, as well as swabs of the left and right middle ears. These samples were analyzed to see if the novel coronavirus could be isolated from them.

One patient was negative for virus in both mastoids and both middle ears. SARS-CoV-2 was isolated from the targeted regions of the other two people — the first in the right middle ear only and the second in all four sampled sites. The researchers believe that, despite the variation in virus recovery seen in the three patients (possibly related, they say, to different time intervals between death and autopsy), the conclusive finding of virus in the middle ear and mastoid warrants more caution and protective measures by health care professionals working in these two areas, especially during ear surgery.

Stewart is available for interviews by the media.

 

Johns Hopkins Launches K-12 School Reopening Policy Tracker

Interactive map compares and analyzes school reopening plans nationwide

To guide the discussions around reopening schools, a multidisciplinary team of Johns Hopkins researchers launched a website that provides a range of tools dedicated to assessing K-12 school reopening plans across the United States from an equity lens, including a School Reopening Policy Tracker that provides real-time analysis of the latest guidance from every state.   

The COVID-19 School Reopening School Checklist poses questions about continuity of learning, student engagement, food security, health, supervision and housing. The checklist is designed to help schools evaluate the status of their students and families following school closures during spring 2020 and guide school leaders as they think through how to equitably meet the needs of students from disadvantaged groups as schools consider reopening plans.

“Schools are a nexus of health and well-being for children, particularly in less resourced communities where the burdens of the pandemic are being borne disproportionately,” says Megan Collins, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and co-director of the Hopkins Consortium for School-Based Health Solutions. “While schools will be monitoring the COVID-19 ‘learning slide’ (the loss of learning experienced by a student when they are not engaged in regular academic activities), what is missing is an eye on equity for disadvantaged groups. Even as education and public health leaders advocate for making classroom-based education a priority for those children most at risk for missing school, there is no clear guidance from school districts about how structural justice problems should be addressed. By creating the eSchool+ Initiative, we hope to contribute to ongoing discussions about narrowing health and academic equity gaps for disadvantaged students.”

Johns Hopkins experts working on this topic are available for interviews on school reopenings. Please contact [email protected]

Megan Collins, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s Wilmer Eye Institute and Associate Faculty at the Berman Institute of Bioethics 

Katherine Connor, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center

Sara Johnson, M.P.H., Ph.D., associate professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center

 

The Importance of Wearing a Mask

Perhaps one of the most striking lifestyle changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic is the mandatory use of face masks in grocery stores, restaurants and other public places. Wearing a mask, especially when in close proximity to others, is imperative to slowing the spread of COVID-19. But one look outside of your “safe-at-home” haven and you might find people wearing masks in a variety of different styles: dangling from one ear, pulled down below the nose or resting below the chin. These common mistakes decrease the effectiveness of masking and increase the wearer’s risk of catching and spreading the disease.

Many people who have COVID-19 don’t show symptoms but can still spread the virus through droplets that escape from the mouth when speaking, sneezing and coughing. Scientists have proven that masking lowers COVID-19 cases, even in the long term. As we approach back-to-school season, public knowledge of proper masking technique is now more important than ever.

Hands should be washed for at least 20 seconds before and after touching a mask. Wearing a mask might feel uncomfortable at first, so it is important to adjust the mask to make sure it properly fits over the nose, mouth and chin and allows for comfortable breathing and speaking. To avoid common mistakes, remember these five don’ts:

  1. Don’t touch your or your child’s mask while it is being worn.
  2. Don’t wear the mask under your chin with your nose and/or mouth exposed.
  3. Don’t leave your nose and/or mouth uncovered.
  4. Don’t remove the mask while around others in public.
  5. Don’t share your mask with family members or friends.

Director of Operations for Department of Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control (HEIC) at the Johns Hopkins Hospital Polly Trexler, M.S., C.I.C., is available to speak about how to wear a mask properly and the importance of masking in slowing the spread in the future.

 

For information from Johns Hopkins Medicine about the coronavirus pandemic, visit hopkinsmedicine.org/coronavirus. For information on the coronavirus from throughout the Johns Hopkins enterprise, including the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and The Johns Hopkins University, visit coronavirus.jhu.edu.

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