The Dubois County Health Department is working closely with the local hospital, labs and healthcare professionals when it comes to procedures and preparing themselves if a person in the county was exposed to the 2019 novel Coronavirus.
According to the department, no one is considered to have been exposed to the virus in Dubois County but they are taking every possible step to identify illness and ensure that our community stays healthy.
If a person is found to have recently traveled to China in accordance with the guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Dubois County Health Department will monitor the traveler for 14 days for symptoms. Those include fever, cough and shortness of breath.
Currently, the CDC has said the risk of widespread transmission of disease in the United States is low. Most individuals being evaluated for this illness in the US are testing negative.
Again, at the local level, there have been no known reports that would need to be investigated.
“The risk of contracting the flu is much greater than any risk from the 2019 novel coronavirus in our county,” said Jo Ann Spaulding, administrative director of the Dubois County Health Department, “but we are taking every step possible to ensure that our community stays healthy.”
Like influenza, human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:
- Respiratory droplets released into the air by coughing and sneezing;
- Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands;
- Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands; and
- Rarely, fecal contamination.
People who have traveled to or from China since December 1, 2019, could have been exposed to the virus. If you have traveled to China and feel sick, stay home and avoid contact with others. It is important that you call your doctor’s office or emergency room before arrival and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing an throw the tissue in a trash container.
The best way to protect yourself from any respiratory illness, including the flu, is to:
- Wash your 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, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Common questions people have asked us are:
Does the regular flu vaccine protect against the Coronavirus?
The answer is, currently, we do not have a vaccine for the 2019 novel coronavirus. Because the novel coronavirus is new, we are learning more each day about the transmission patterns and incubation periods.
Should I be worried about items being shipped from China?
You do not need to worry about items being shipped from China; the live virus was found to only have a lifespan of about a couple of hours.
The most important things to remember are if you have traveled to China and feel sick, stay home and call your doctor tell them of your symptoms and travel and you will receive instructions. Those that are healthy, use best practices to protect your self from any respiratory illness. Something as simple as washing your hands, staying home when sick, disinfecting surfaces, and getting your regular vaccinations are all ways we can stay healthy together as a community.
For additional information about novel coronavirus, visit https://www.in.gov/isdh/28470.htm.