Local health departments urge preventive steps against coronavirus

Posted 7 February 2020 at 10:26 am

No confirmed cases in New York State in rapidly evolving outbreak

Press Release, Orleans and Genesee County Health Departments

While there are no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in New York State, the Public Health Departments in Orleans and Genesee counties urge local residents to take precautions and be vigilant with the virus.

“There are currently zero confirmed cases of 2019 Novel CoronaVirus (2019-nCoV) in New York,” stated Paul Pettit, director of Genesee & Orleans Counties Departments of Health. “While the risk for Orleans and Genesee County is currently low, things are rapidly evolving with this outbreak. In response, our departments have been proactively taking actions to safeguard our communities.”

The 2019 novel coronavirus may cause symptoms including cough, fever, trouble breathing and pneumonia.

The coronavirus is spread from someone who is sick through the air by coughing or sneezing, close personal contact, or touching surfaces where the virus is present (after someone who has the virus touched, coughed or sneezed on a surface).

Common signs of infection or coronavirus are similar to a cold or influenza (flu). Therefore the health department encourages everyone to take the same prevention steps as recommended for the seasonal flu, as flu is still a greater risk to our residents.

Get the flu vaccination if you have not done so already; wash hands with soap and water for at 20 seconds; avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; avoid close contact with people who are sick; stay home if you are sick; regularly clean and disinfect surfaces.

If symptoms worsen or you have reason to believe you may have 2019-nCoV, contact your primary care provider and/or dispatch for an ambulance (for worsening symptoms) and advise them of your travel history.

As of February 1, 2020 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided the following guidance for anyone who has returned from China:

• Any U.S. citizen returning to the U.S. who traveled to the Hubei Province in the previous 14 days will be subject to up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine (separation / confinement), to safeguard they are provided proper medical care and health screening.

• Any U.S. citizen returning to the U.S. who has been in the rest of mainland China within the 14 previous days will undergo proactive entry health screening at a select number of ports of entry and up to 14 days of monitored self-quarantine to ensure they have not contracted the virus and do not pose a public health risk.

• Foreign nationals, other than immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, who have traveled to China within the last 14 days will be denied entry into the U.S. for this time.

“We are in contact with the New York State Department of Health and other partners and are prepared to respond quickly and effectively in the event a suspected and/or confirmed case is detected in our counties,” Pettit said.

The state health department has an information call center for questions and answers about travel and symptoms regarding 2019-nCoV. The number is 1-888-364-3065.

The Health Departments will provide updates as appropriate.

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