Your local Health Department is actively participating in surveillance activities per State protocols for COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

   This new virus can cause illness varying from mild to severe, including potentially resulting in death especially in persons with underlying health conditions. This virus can be spread person to person.

   The goal in public health surveillance is to minimize introductions of the virus, detect new cases quickly, and reduce community spread if and when it is identified in our county.

   Most cases identified in the US have been associated to travel outside the US. However, person-to-person spread has been seen in close (household) contacts or confirmed COVID-19 cases. Most person-to-person spread is thought to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. Most often person-to-person spread is thought to happen among people within about 6 feet of each other. These respiratory droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly inhaled into the lungs.

   It is unclear whether a person may become infected with the new coronavirus by touching a surface or object contaminated with the virus and then touching your own mouth, nose, or possibly eyes.

   Typically, with most respiratory viruses, people are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic. (sickest).

   There is currently no vaccine available to prevent COVID-19 (coronavirus). There is also no antiviral treatment for COVID-19. People with the virus should receive supportive care to help relieve their symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ function.

   CDC recommends everyday preventative actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

*Avoid close contact with people who are sick

*Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands

*STAY HOME when you are SICK

*Cover your cough or sneezed with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash

*Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using regular household cleaning spray or wipes

*Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing

*If soap and water aren’t readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty

*Avoid sharing personal household items such as dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding with other people or pet in your home

*If you have symptoms of the flu seek medical attention if your illness is worsening (having difficulty breathing) notify your healthcare provider. If you have any of the risk factors such as travel to the affected areas with active coronavirus or have had contact with someone with the illness you should call your healthcare provider before seeking care and tell them you need to be evaluated for COVID-19. Put on a face mask when you enter the medical facility. This will help keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting infected or exposed.

   Minimizing stigma and misinformation is important especially during contagious disease outbreaks.

   Everyone should know the facts about Coronavirus and help prevent the spread of rumors:

*Fight stigma and fear by supporting people who are coming back to work or school after completing their quarantine or isolation period if they had been exposed to the illness.

*Someone who has completed their quarantine or meetings the requirements to discontinue infection control measures does not pose a risk of spreading COVID-19.

*People of Asian descent, including Chinese Americans, are not more likely to get coronavirus then anyone else. Help fight fear by letting people know that being of Asian descent does not increase the spread of this disease.

*Viruses cannot target people from special populations, ethnicities, or racial backgrounds

*People who have not been in contact with a person who is confirmed or suspected care are not at greater risk of acquiring and spreading this new virus than others.

*People who returned more than 14 days ago from areas where COVID-19 is active and do not have symptoms do not put others at risk

   If you have recently been to an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19 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 your medical professional’s recommendations. Your cooperation is essential to help prevent the spread of this virus. If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, contact your medical provider, tell them about your symptoms and how you feel you may have been exposed.

   There are presently no identified persons in WV who are positive for Coronavirus although some testing has been done for one person in the Charleston area who tested negative.

   Your local Health Department will continue teleconferences weekly the Bureau for Public Health and follow CDC recommendations in surveillance activities.

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