As Stafford County continues to monitor the coronavirus status for our community, an official from the Rappahannock Area Health District reassured area localities recently that the risk to residents in the United States is still considered low. Dr. Brooke Rossheim recently wrote a letter to area localities and community partners with updated information on the virus.
“Based on current, available information, the risk of this new virus for the American public is considered low. There have been no diagnosed cases in Virginia,” said Dr. Rossheim. “Currently, we are in influenza and respiratory disease season in Virginia and the U.S. There are certain steps everyone should always take to prevent illness, including getting a flu vaccine, washing hands frequently, practicing cough hygiene and staying home when sick.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of February 26, 2020, there were 15 cases of the virus called 2019-nCoV detected in the United States. One of the 15 cases is in a person who reportedly did not have relevant travel history or exposure to another COVIC-19 patient. It is possible that this could be an instance of community spread of COVID-19, which would be the first time that has happened in the United States. Additionally, 45 cases of COVID-19 have been detected among the 1,100 + people repatriated from Hubei Province, China and the Diamond Princess back to the United States.
Symptoms of 2019-nCoV include mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Because this is an emerging disease, some aspects of COVID-19 are not well understood at this time. Currently, there is not a COVID-19 vaccine or specific treatment other than supportive care. Scientists are working on developing a vaccine and treatment.
The Rappahannock Area Health District is coordinating daily with the Virginia Department of Health and the CDC, community partners and monitoring travelers. Dr. Rossheim makes the following recommendations for the public:
- It is not too late to get a flu vaccine. Follow healthy practices of washing hands frequently, practicing cough hygiene and staying home when sick.
- Practice proper infection control measures at home, school and work. This includes washing your hands frequently, covering your cough (into a issue or your sleeve), and staying home from work/school if you are ill.
- Avoid close contact with people who are ill. Also, avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes.
- If you are considering travel, please see the CDC’s travel website regarding coronavirus at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html for more info.
- If you have been in China, or have been exposed to someone sick with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, you may face some limitations on your movement and activity. Please follow the health department instructions during this time. Your cooperation is integral to the ongoing public health response to COVID-19.
For more information on this rapidly evolving situation, please visit Stafford’s Coronavirus Central Information page with links to local, state and federal authorities. Visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIL5m5XznNY&feature=youtu.be for an informative video.