COVID-19 Update and Information
There is now a confirmed case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in New York City. What should you do and how can you get accurate updated information?
How to prevent illness
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. You can also 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, to protect yourself, co-workers and others you’re in contact with.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms and may have traveled to areas of concern or have been in contact with somebody who has traveled to these areas you should call ahead to your health care provider before going in for treatment.
- Keep your immune system strong. This includes getting a flu shot to help you from getting the flu, getting enough sleep, and eating well.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus.
How it is Transmitted
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person coughing or sneezing. The CDC says it may be possible for a person to become infected by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes. Contact with fecal matter from an infected person may also transmit the virus.
There are no recommendations for the general public to use a face mask, unless you are in a health care environment or are otherwise near people who may have the virus for extended periods or unless your health care provider recommends it.
It is estimated the COVID-19 can live for nine days at room temperature (longer for cold), but this is not known for certain and can likely be killed by disinfectant. While “current estimates suggest that symptoms of COVID-19 usually appear within around five days or less in most cases, but the range could be between one and 14 days.” (https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/as-coronavirus-spreads-many-questions-and-some-answers-2020022719004#q2)
COVID-19 in New York
The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH) reports that a person in their 30’s who recently returned from Iran has tested positive for COVID-19. According to Gov. Cuomo, the person is a health care worker who acted in a “textbook way” to try to avoid contaminating others.The patient is in isolation and being monitored by the NYC DOHMH. Close contacts have been identified and are being addressed by NYC DOHMH as appropriate.
How to Stay Up to Date with Accurate Information
Check out the DOHMH Coronavirus website for updates and what to do if you have come back from a CDC designated country. NYC DOHMH says the risk to New Yorkers “remains low.”
If you are planning any travel outside the US, visit CDC’s Travelers’ Health webpage for the latest travel health notices.
Coronavirus is an umbrella term for a host of illnesses including the common cold and flu. Most people get infected with one or more of these viruses at some point in their lives. These illnesses should not be confused with COVID-19.