Local officials discuss coronavirus potential

As concerns of a potential pandemic spread around the globe, local officials are exploring their options should the most recently discovered coronavirus reach here from its origin in China.

Lewis County Judge Executive said he met Thursday with other local officials to learn more about COVID-19 (COronaVIrus Disease-19) and discuss steps that may be taken by local residents to help protect themselves from the virus should it make its way here.

“The threat to the US and especially to our community right now is low,” Ruckel said. “Health experts say the virus is not spreading quickly here at this time.”
“We’re not recommending extreme precautions and we’re not asking our residents to curb any of their usual activities,” Ruckel added.
“We want to assure our citizens that we are monitoring this potentially dangerous disease and will be prepared to react accordingly,” he said.

Lewis County Public Health Director Anita Bertram says symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to flu symptoms and the steps to help prevent the spread are the same.

“Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds,” Bertram says.
She adds that alcohol-based hand sanitizers are known to be effective in killing the virus.
“Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash,” she adds. “Or sneeze to the inside of your elbow.”
Bertram also advises frequent cleaning and disinfecting of objects and surfaces with which you come into contact.
You should also avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Local officials meet to discuss new coronavirus potential. Left to right Deputy Sgt. Matt Ross, Judge Executive Todd Ruckel, County Attorney Benjamin Harrison, Public Information Officer Dennis Brown, Public Health Director Anita Bertram, and Health Department Lead Nurse Katie Brannon.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some people may experience aches and pains, nasal congestion, and sore throat.

Bertram urges those who exhibit those symptoms to stay home except to get medical care.

Bertram also suggests some degree of social distancing to help minimize the chances of spreading sickness.

“By avoiding direct physical contact, such as shaking hands or hugging in social situations, we eliminate the chance of spreading viruses and germs,” she said.

Ruckel said the officials will continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and will inform the community of any necessary steps in responding to the health threat.

Bertram says the primary health threat for our area now is the flu.

As of Thursday, the flu had claimed 66 Kentuckians, four of those deaths were children.

Bertram urges everyone to receive a flu vaccine and adds the Lewis County Health Department has flu vaccines available.

In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

COVID-19 symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell.

Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment.

Around one out of every six people who get COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing.

Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness.

About two percent of people with the disease have died.
People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.

More than 95 percent of all COVID-19 cases are occurring in China, with the majority of those in Hubei Province.

For people in most other parts of the world, your risk of getting COVID-19 is currently low, however, it’s important to be aware of the situation and preparedness efforts in your area.

To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-2019. However, those affected should receive care to relieve symptoms. People with serious illness should be hospitalized.

Most patients recover with supportive care.

Possible vaccines and some specific drug treatments are under investigation. They are being tested through clinical trials.

The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue, and maintain a distance of at least three feet from people who are coughing or sneezing.

For more information, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html.

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