Sickle Cell Association Issues COVID-19 Guidelines for US Reopening

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by Joana Carvalho |

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Coronavirus and US reopening

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An advisory committee of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America is recommending that people with sickle cell disease (SCD) be considered a “vulnerable” population during the reopening of the U.S. economy, and remain at home as much as possible.

Patients should also continue taking their medications, and adopt telehealth options for routine clinical care during the reopening, according to the statement by the Medical and Research Advisory Committee (MARAC).

The country’s reopening, officially launched May 1 based on U.S. Coronavirus Taskforce guidelines, is currently in a two-week pre-opening phase. This will be followed by a two-week “gating” period, in which coronavirus case trajectories, and hospital and testing capacities will be recorded.

A state can fully reopen if no rebound in infections is found during of these 14-day phases.

Through the gating period, the U.S. Taskforce recommended that those deemed vulnerable to COVID-19 should remain at home and work remotely if possible. If working from home is not a possibility, employers should make special arrangements to ensure their safety in the workplace.

As states reopen, vulnerable individuals will be allowed to resume normal professional activities, while still practicing social distancing in public places.

Based on COVID-19 guidelines defined by the American Society of Hematology, MARAC noted that it considers SCD patients to be vulnerable to infection caused by the new coronavirus.

It issued a series of recommendations for SCD patients to follow until routine activities are deemed safe by state and local authorities, based on advice from local healthcare providers.

These recommendations include remaining at home except for essential trips. If working remotely is not a possibility, patients should have special accommodations in the workplace, including social distancing, masks, and hand sanitizers.

Those without these options are advised to contact their SCD specialist regarding appropriate alternatives.

MARAC also recommends that all patients continue taking their medications as instructed by their doctors and to use telemedicine or telephone consultations for routine healthcare.

Patients are advised to continue following the instructions and guidelines of their local health authorities, as well as guidance given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.