‘The coronavirus is NOT welcome here’

Published 5:23 pm Friday, March 13, 2020

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County, health district offer advice to stave off COVID-19


When contacted about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and what Isle of Wight County government is considering as preparation for if or when it comes to Western Tidewater, county spokesman Don Robertson recently stated via email that the administration is “… monitoring information from the CDC [Centers for Disease Control] and the Virginia Health Department via conference calls. We discussed information with department heads this morning and answered questions relative to the virus and basics measures we can deploy to ensure continuity of services.”

A brief report made last week to the Board of Supervisors included a status update. He said information was also provided to employees that reinforces suggestions for prevention, which include the following:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • 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 using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Robertson added, “The coronavirus is NOT welcome here!”

Amal Patel, director of the Western Tidewater Health District, which includes Isle of Wight, offered some practical advice for the situation. For example, he was asked if thoroughly washing hands really is one of the best ways to control the spread of viruses, etc.

“Yes, washing hands is a very effective and inexpensive step to prevent influenza and many other viral and bacterial infections,” Patel replied via email.

This and other advice he recommended can be found at this website he provided: http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/influenza-flu-in-virginia/influenza-prevention-protect-yourself-and-others-from-getting-the-flu/

Patel continued, “VDH and CDC recommend yearly influenza vaccination as the first and most important step in protecting yourself and your loved ones from influenza illness. Annual seasonal flu vaccination is the best way to reduce the chances that you will get the flu and lessen the chance that you will spread it to others. When more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu illness can spread through the community.”

Asked about the symptoms of the flu versus COVID19, he said, “Both viruses cause respiratory illness with symptoms such as: fever, cough, body aches, fatigue, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. The symptoms can be mild to severe and even result in pneumonia for both.”

He acknowledged that “influenza activity is high. If you have the flu, make sure you stay at home and away from school, work, or other activities until you are fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of a medicine to reduce your fever).”

As for what the Western Tidewater Health District is doing to prepare as the COVID19, Patel replied, “We are meeting with stakeholders to share information. We are staying up to date on the most recent updates from VDH and CDC for COVID-19 and disseminating that information. We are reviewing our plans and updating them as necessary.

“We deal with the flu every year. We are reinforcing our respiratory etiquette and training as we do every year.”

He recommended that the best place to stay up-to-date are the CDC and VDH webpages.

CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

VDH: http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/surveillance-and-investigation/novel-coronavirus/


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