Courtesy of San Benito County Public Health Services:
As the numbers of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) grow in California and around the world, we must all be prepared to keep ourselves, our families and our communities as safe as we can. As you see from what’s reported by the news media, the situation changes daily, and response to what is happening may change quickly.
San Benito County Public Health Services is in constant communication with the counties around us, as well as the California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control. But responding to this potential worldwide pandemic is not for government alone.
All of us have the responsibility to become prepared and ready for any of the changes that are likely to affect our daily lives. Staying informed is critical. This is not a time to panic, but to plan for the possible disruptions to our daily lives.
What began as an outbreak of disease in a city in China, has now spread around the world to many countries. California has a growing number of those cases and we expect to see more. Locally we reported last month of the two cases that were identified in San Benito County. These individuals have recovered. We also know that within California we have begun to see people with COVID-19 who have no travel history or known contact to other infected people. When we see this, it’s called community spread. Our efforts have initially been to contain the infection and keep it from spreading. This is done by isolating those who are sick, and separating those who are exposed but well (quarantine) for a 14 day incubation period to make sure they don’t become sick and spread the disease. Even with these measures in place, it may not be possible to fully contain COVID-19 cases and communities must prepare for more widespread infections.
What can people do to get prepared:
- Practice good hygiene for respiratory infections. Washing hands is really important and effective. Do it often. Don’t touch your face; this may put germs directly into your mouth, nose or eyes. If you have a cough, cover it with the inside of your elbow.
- Stay home from work or school if you are sick. Call ahead if you are going to see your doctor. Expanded testing will become available soon but your doctor will make the determination if testing should be done.
- Stay informed. Rely on trusted sources for your information.
- Keep surfaces clean and disinfected. -1- ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH 351 Tres Pinos Road, Suite C-1 Hollister CA 95023 831-636-4035
- Have a family/household plan. If someone does become ill, keep them away from other non-sick family members. Don’t visit the elderly if you are sick with any respiratory symptoms. The elderly are most vulnerable to this virus.
- Plan for possible disruption to normal routines if the virus continues to spread. For example, schools might have to close; businesses may not receive regular shipments of supplies including medications. Therefore:
- Have a good supply of your prescription medications on hand. Call your doctor or pharmacy and ask if you can get an extra month’s supply of medications dispensed.
- Plan for your children being at home and not able to go to school. This may require making arrangements with your employer also.
- Air travel might be further restricted. Some businesses are already restricting work related travel and are encouraging work from home.
- Large events and mass gatherings could be cancelled. So, be prepared, plan, stay calm and informed. Public Health is working to keep our community safe, but all of us have a part in this. Things are likely to get worse before they start improving. Be kind to each other. We are all in this together. It’s the virus we are fighting. Public Health and our community partners including first responders, healthcare providers, schools, business, faith communities, and others are working collectively and collaboratively for the health of our community. For more information about novel coronavirus (COVID-19), see the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html and visit the San Benito County Public Health Services website for updated local information at http://hhsa.cosb.us/publichealth/.