News Flash

DO 05 - Leg. Hahn - PR

Posted on: March 12, 2020

Important Information Concerning Coronavirus

COVID-19 Image from the CDC

As you probably have heard the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been positively diagnosed in Suffolk County. With cases continuing to rise, I wish to share with you important information about this virus, ways to reduce its spread, symptoms to be on the lookout for and resources for those impacted.


Background:

In December 2019, a novel (new) coronavirus was detected in China. This virus causes a disease called COVID-19 and can lead to fever, cough, shortness of breath and pneumonia. There are thousands of confirmed cases in a growing number of countries internationally and the virus is now spreading in the United States, including here in New York and Suffolk County. On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern” and on March 11, 2020 the WHO characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic. That means it is widespread across many countries and regions.


COVID-19 Image from the CDCVirus Transmission:

“..most cases are now likely to be spread from person to person by droplets when coughing. Since this virus is very new, health authorities continue to carefully watch how this virus spreads.” -NYSDOH. The virus can live on surfaces up to 24 hours (CDC).


This virus is more resilient, contagious and deadly than the flu. None of us have any immunity to this virus. Also, there is no “herd immunity” like there is with the flu (‘herd immunity’ means that a person might be protected if others have received a vaccine to the germ). Therefore, we must take steps to control the spread.


Common Sense Preventative Measures:

It recommended that all residents should:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Practice “Social distancing” - avoid common friendly greetings such as handshakes, hugs & kisses.

Please note, the CDC does not recommend the use of face masks or N95 respirators among the general public.


Proactive Containment strategies:

  • Postpone non-essential events and gatherings.
  • If possible limit shopping trips and other errands – buy enough food, medicine and other needed household items online or in a single visit to the store. Some local businesses deliver.


Illness Symptoms:

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.


The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.*

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath


For most people (70+%) the Corona Virus symptoms will be mild to moderate. However, approximately 15% will be severe, 5% critical and 3% will die.


*This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses. Persons age 60 and older are at higher risk of getting serious disease, and those with other health issues including but not limited to heart problems (e.g. high blood pressure), lung problems , or diabetes, to name a few. However, severe coronavirus disease is not limited to these groups of people. All people should be concerned.


Testing:

New York State is actively working to expand testing capacity; but despite some reports, at this point in time the tests are not widely available. In the interim, you should talk to your primary care doctor about testing if you are:

  • An individual who has come within proximate contact (same classroom, office, or gatherings) of another person known to be positive; or
  • An individual who has traveled to a country that the CDC has issued a Level 2 or Level 3 Travel Health Notice, and shows symptoms of illness; or
  • An individual is quarantined (mandatory or precautionary) and has shown symptoms of COVID-19 illness; or
  • An individual is symptomatic and has not tested positive for any other infection; or ·
  • Other cases where the facts and circumstances warrant as determined by the treating clinician in consultation with state and local department of health officials.

Contact with COVID-19 Confirmed Patient:

If you have close contact with anyone confirmed to be infected by COVID-19, please call the Suffolk County Department of Health Services at (631) 854-0333.


Resources:

For updated information, visit the Health Department website at https://suffolkcountyny.gov/health or call (631) 854-0000. Additionally, New York has established a Novel Coronavirus Hotline at 1-888-364-3065.


Recommendation on how to talk with children about COVID-19


Patient Specific Information from the CDC:

Breastfeeding Mothers

Businesses and Employers

Children

Healthcare Professionals

Older People and Persons with Chronic Diseases

People who are Sick

Pregnant Woman

Schools

Travelers


This is a rapidly evolving situation, so please visit the Suffolk County Department of Health Services, New York State Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local media for the most up-to-date guidance.

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