Guest Editorial by the Niagara County Department of Health
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness. Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. A novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
“There are currently zero confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in New York,” said Niagara County Department of Health Public Health Director Daniel J. Stapleton. “While the risk for Niagara County is low, we have increased our vigilance to ensure community members are protected.
The Niagara County Department of Health is proactively working with partners, including New York State Department of Health, to plan and prepare should a suspect case of novel coronavirus arise locally.
“While the Niagara County Department of Health continues to prepare for infectious disease events, no additional precautions are recommended for the general public at this time beyond the simple daily precautions that everyone should be taking,” Stapleton said. “Flu is still prevalent in New York, and therefore we encourage the public to get vaccinated, stay home from work and/or school if sick, and take preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.”
Aligned with CDC recommendations, everyday preventative actions can help stop the spread of novel coronavirus and other respiratory viruses such as the flu, including:
•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 or 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.
The symptoms of novel coronavirus are very similar to a common cold or flu. If you feel sick with fever, cough or difficulty breathing, and have traveled to China or were in close contact with someone with novel coronavirus in the 14 days before you began to feel sick, seek medical care. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
General questions regarding novel coronavirus and travel may be directed to the New York novel coronavirus hotline at 1-888-364-3065. For more information about 2019 novel coronavirus, visit the New York State Department of Health’s dedicated website at https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus.