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ECDOH: Don't self-medicate, mix drugs, trying to beat coronavirus


Fri, Apr 3rd 2020 08:40 am

The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) is making the following announcements.

COVID-19 Data Update

As of noon Thursday, we have received reports of 727 total positive lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in Erie County residents. Nineteen Erie County residents have died, and 101 people have recovered. There are currently 607 people in isolation. As of the evening of April 1, 128 individuals with positive tests for COVID-19 were hospitalized in Erie County hospitals. Of those cases, 61 were in ICU beds.

Poison Control Warning

ECDOH is sharing precautions from the New York State Poison Control Centers on chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, two drugs that are being discussed as a possible treatment for COVID-19.

These drugs are currently only being tested in health care facilities. They are not recommended to be used at home. Despite recent public endorsements, the use of this medication is experimental.

These drugs can cause life-threatening symptoms to the heart, lung and nervous system. Toxicity from these drugs can come on fast; there may not be enough time to get to an emergency department.

Please remember: “One pill can kill" for children.

From the New York State Poison Control Centers: “Patients should be counseled regarding safe medication use and safe storage, particularly in households with young children. We also strongly advise against the use of any non-pharmaceutical sourced chloroquine or any other drug or substance with claims to either treat or prevent COVID-19 infection that has not been FDA-approved.”

Rely on trusted sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), local health departments or your local poison control center for health information. The best medical advice for you comes from your own doctor. 

ECDOH encourages everyone to add the toll-free number for their local poison control center to their cell phone: 800-222-1222.

Restaurant Seating in Warmer Weather

As warmer weather approaches, restaurants with patio seating and seasonal food facilities such as ice cream shops and hot dogs stands must comply with the recent executive orders from Gov. Andrew Cuomo related to food consumption and social gatherings on their premises.

ECDOH will be enforcing violations of the governor’s orders for these situations. In anticipation of that, ECDOH is recommending restaurants take proactive measures to remove or block off outdoor seating. If seating cannot be removed, signage can be placed with reminders to patrons not to eat or drink on the premises. No restaurant facility should have outdoor seating available or in use and, in general, patrons should maintain a six-foot distance from others while waiting in line for take-out food from these establishments.

What is Your Plan?

In Thursday’s live video, Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein talked about the importance of every Erie County resident having a plan for their household, and to know what they will do if someone in their household is ill with COVID-19 symptoms.

  • Talk with people who need to be included in your plan.
  • Plan ways to care for those who might be at greater risk for serious complications.
  • Get to know your neighbors.
  • Identify aid organizations in your community.
  • Create an emergency contact list – family, friends, neighbors, health care providers, other community resources.
  • Specific guidance can be found from the CDC at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/COVID19_FAQ_HouseholdReady-H.pdf

If someone in your household does become ill with COVID-19 symptoms,

  • Help patient follow doctor’s instructions
  • Household members should be separated from the patient as much as possible.
  • Use a separate bedroom and bathroom, if possible
  • Avoid sharing household items
  • Clean all high-touch surfaces frequently
  • Wash laundry thoroughly
  • Make sure shared spaces have good air flow
  • Prohibit visitors

From the CDC: 10 tips to manage respiratory symptoms at home:


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