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.
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.
“..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:
Please note, the CDC does not recommend the use of face masks or N95 respirators among the general public.
Proactive Containment strategies
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.*
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.
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:
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.
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:
Businesses and Employers
Older People and Persons with Chronic Diseases
People who are Sick