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As of the weekend the CDC is recommending that, in addition to practicing everyday precautions as outlined below, people at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19 begin “social distancing” and stay home as much as possible. Those at high risk include older adults and people with serious medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease. For more information please see: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html.
COVID-19, the novel coronavirus that’s spreading from China throughout the world: You’ve heard about it; you’re concerned about it. Here are some things you need to know.
1. We’re on it
Your Board of Health is the local end of a chain that starts with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and goes through the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Mohawk Area Public Health Coalition (MAPHCO) down to us. At every link in this chain emergency response plans are being updated and supplies and equipment are being marshaled.
In this rapidly evolving situation, an important part of our job is to keep you informed of the risks and the proper precautions you can take. You can also get updates, and more information on the virus itself, on these websites:
2. Understand the risk
We are committed to offering realistic professional guidance. Yes, as of this writing, in early March 2020, the risk of infection in our area is low. But we can’t count on its staying low. It’s entirely possible that we’ll see cases of COVID-19 in our community. We’re the lucky ones; we have time to get ready.
3. Things you can do to prepare
There are basic precautions that everyone can easily take to prevent the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19 — or flu. Let’s face it, the world is a germy place, and you pick up those germs on your hands and carry them into your body by touching your eyes, nose, mouth, or food.
To learn more about ways you can help yourself, visit cdc.gov/nonpharmaceutical-interventions/personal/index.html.
And finally, start thinking about being prepared for any kind of emergency, from an infectious disease outbreak to an ice storm. You can get started by visiting www.ready.gov.