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After coronavirus detected in Monroe, local health departments urge residents to be calm, take precautions

Posted 12 March 2020 at 12:30 pm

Press Release, Public Health Departments in Orleans and Genesee Counties

The Public Health Departments in Orleans and Genesee counties are geared up to respond to a positive case of coronavirus in the two counties. So far there hasn’t been a confirmed case in either Genesee or Orleans, said Paul Pettit, public health director for the two counties.

“In response to Monroe County releasing a travel-related positive case of COVID-19 we want to assure Genesee and Orleans County residents that our health departments are continuing efforts to be prepared and ready for action when COVID-19 is diagnosed in one of our residents,” Pettit said. “It has been determined there is no indication of community transmission in the Monroe County case. We currently have one person under precautionary quarantine and is not displaying signs of illness. Our responsibility in this outbreak is four fold: 1. To prepare and be ready. 2. Detect, protect and treat. 3. Reduce transmission and 4. Innovate and learn.”

“Our departments have been preparing for events such as this. We are diligently in conversation with the New York State Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for updated guidance. As we move forward with this outbreak we will be working with those returning from travel from Level 3 and Level 2 Travel Health Notice Countries as well as those who may have contact with someone who traveled and are displaying symptoms,” stated Pettit. “We encourage residents to remain calm; be prepared by making sure you have supplies on hand including a thermometer, fever-reducing over-the-counter medication, such as ibuprofen; and listen to factual reports from the CDC, NYSDOH, and Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments,” stated Pettit. “You can also call the NYS Coronavirus Call Center: 1-888-364-3065 for questions and answers about travel and symptoms .”

He also recommended the following websites: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Genesee County Health Department, and Orleans County Health Department.

It is important for everyone to be aware of how they can reduce transmission, not just for COVID- 19, but other respiratory related illness, such as the flu. For the majority of individuals infected with COVID-19 they will have mild symptoms. However, for those at risk, such as older people or those with underlying health issues such as heart, lung, diabetes, etc. they are at a higher risk of potentially life threatening symptoms. Limiting exposure to large group events and staying home when unwell are important steps. Organizations should start planning how they will meet the needs of their constituents if there is community transmission in our counties.

While there is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, these simple steps can help stop the spread of this and other respiratory viruses, including the flu (influenza) which is currently widespread:

• If you need to go to your primary care provider, a health center or the emergency room, call ahead to let them know your symptoms, travel and contact history.

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Stay home if you are sick. If you have a fever, vomiting and/or diarrhea you should stay home at least 24 hours after the last incident without fever-reducing / anti-diarrhea medications.

• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue cover your mouth with your elbow.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

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