Health Department Is Keeping An Eye On The Coronavirus

Every day we are hearing more about novel coronavirus (aka COVID-19) and how it is spreading across the world.

While our risk in Chautauqua County right now remains low, we want everyone to know that our local health department is preparing to meet the needs of the public should an outbreak occur. As health officials have said there is no reason at this time to change your normal routine but there are always things we can do everyday to prevent the spread of cold, flu and other respiratory diseases. These good habits that we can adopt right now will help stop the spread of the common cold and seasonal flu that can also be a health threat to older adults and those with compromised immune systems. Should novel coronavirus come to our county, these habits can help stop the spread of that disease as well.

¯ 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 sick people;

¯ 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.

Face masks are not recommended to prevent any respiratory disease including COVID-19. Facemasks should be worn by those who are suspected to have the disease to prevent the spread infection and by health care providers and those caring for someone with COVID-19.

Older adults are more at risk for complications from illnesses such as the flu and COVID-19 that can affect the respiratory system especially for people who are already compromised due to chronic health conditions. This would be a great time to talk with your doctor and make sure you are up to date on all recommended vaccinations. If you have never had a pneumonia vaccine, this would be a good time to get one if you are able. If it has been a long time since you have had the pneumonia vaccine ask your primary care physician if a booster shot is indicated.

For our senior centers/clubs and other places that people live and congregate, adopting a daily cleaning routine of frequently touched objects like door handles and light switches and other frequently touched surfaces is a small way that we can all help to stop the spread of virus and bacteria that cause disease. There is no reason to wait for an outbreak of COVID-19 to adopt these habits that can make our lives healthier and safer. In our offices that have frequent visitors, we have a spray disinfectant available and everyone takes turns disinfecting a couple times a day. It makes us all feel that we are doing our part to stop the spread of disease for our families and our clients.

The symptoms of COVID-19 include: fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and having traveled to an affected area listed on the CDC website (currently: China, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea) or were in close contact with someone with COVID-19 in the 14 days before you began to feel sick. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travels, your contact with someone who has the disease, and your symptoms.

For general questions regarding novel coronavirus and travel call the New York Novel Coronavirus Hotline at 1-888-364-3065. For more information about 2019 novel Coronavirus, visit the CDC website at: cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019. For more information about local resources contact the NY Connects Helpline at (716)753-4582, 363-4582, or 661-7582.


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