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No reported local cases, but monitoring continues 

Health Dept. director offers facts about Coronavirus 

By BRENT BLEVINS

Boyle County Health Department 

The Boyle County Health Dept is actively and continually working with community agencies to provide the best protection possible for the spread of any infectious disease. Currently the Corona Virus-COVID-19 has been identified in other parts of the world as having the potential to spread. We are not currently aware of any cases of COVID-19 in the Boyle County community, but will continue to monitor consistently. 

The best protection residents can use are the same recommendations we suggest for the flu: 

  • Get a flu shot from your Local Health Department or your family provider as soon as you can.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then properly dispose of.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

These basic precautions are the backbone to preventing the spread of Corona-type viruses and should be used by all community members continually. 

Many community agencies including our schools, hospital, health providers, eating establishments, etc. routinely utilize standard precautions as a part of their daily routine. This is a solid component of controlling any disease spread on a continual basis. I encourage any agency not using these precautions to follow CDC guidelines now to help the community fight against disease/viral spread. 

The following are actions being taken by the Department for Public Health on a state/national level at this time. These same guidelines would include anyone who was in the Boyle County community IF needed: 

  • DPH is contacting and monitoring anyone they are aware of who has travelled in the last 14 days from China, the primary country of concern, to assess if they develop any symptoms.
  • To reduce potential risk, they have asked these travelers to self-isolate, to avoid public gatherings and report their temperatures and any symptoms daily.
  • They have monitored over 100 people up to this point, and the majority of these travelers have already passed the 14-day monitoring period. All but one have been illness-free, and that person tested negative for COVID-19
    Strategies that could be used IF the Coronavirus or any outbreak occurred in our community. These are only possibilities that could be used in the future if needed and are not a comprehensive list of actions that could be needed or that will be used. 
  • Voluntary home isolation when someone is sick with respiratory disease symptoms; 
  • Temporary closures(when possible) of places where large groups meet including schools, churches, businesses, community meetings, etc.;
  • Personal social distancing that increase the distance between people and limit face to face contact as much as possible;
  • Allowing people who are sick and people in contact with them to stay home until fully recovered; 
  • Quarantine according to CDC guidelines if someone has been in contact with someone who is sick or traveled to an area where the virus is prevalent at a high risk; 

While the emergence of new diseases can be unsettling, it is important to remember that daily use of standard precautions as mentioned help all of us remain as healthy as we can be.

 

Brent Blevins is executive director of the Boyle County Health Department. For more information on this topic and many others, visit boylecountyhealthdept.com