GLOUCESTER — Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and Public Health Director Karin Carroll wish to share coronavirus prevention tips with residents.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), coronaviruses are respiratory viruses that often spread when a person infected with the virus coughs or sneezes in close contact with others. There has been one confirmed case of a new coronavirus, the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), in the state, according to the DPH. The man who contracted the virus was returning from Wuhan, China and sought medical care shortly after his arrival in Massachusetts.
The risk to Massachusetts residents of contracting the 2019 novel coronavirus is low and the virus is not spreading in the United States at this time, according to the DPH.
Gloucester health officials wish to remind residents that the flu is a far more prevalent concern, however, and that they should continue taking precautions to stay healthy.
“The risk to the public of contracting this virus is low, and we’re encouraging residents to follow the typical hygienic tips we always share during the flu season,” Carroll said. “It’s important for everyone to wash their hands regularly, sanitize frequently-used items and surfaces, and stay home when you’re sick. These are simple steps that make a big difference in preventing the spread of these types of sicknesses.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), those who contract the 2019 novel coronavirus experience mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough and/or shortness of breath. Symptoms of the virus appear between two and 14 days of exposure.
The DPH is advising anyone who has traveled to China within the past two weeks to monitor their health for symptoms of the virus for 14 days after arriving back in the United States, and to contact their healthcare provider should they develop symptoms. Before going to a medical appointment, anyone who believes they might have the virus is asked to first tell their healthcare provider about their recent travel history and symptoms.
The City of Gloucester wishes to provide residents with recommended actions to take from the CDC to protect themselves and others from the illness, as well as the common flu:
- Wash hands frequently, with soap and water, for a minimum of 20 seconds.
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizing gels and liquids if soap and water are not readily available.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Try to avoid close contact with anyone who is sick.
- When sick yourself, stay home to protect others.
- Always cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect areas and objects that are touched frequently, such as desks, phones, door handles, etc.