Mayor, public health experts recommend precautions

Thursday, May 21, 2020
A reminder to drivers and pedestrians passing by Grand Avenue Park outside Spencer Hospital that front-line work on the inside of the building continues in the safety battle during the COVID-19 crisis.
Photo by Randy M. Cauthron

With less than a dozen confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Clay County and with more services reopening for business in the region, it may be an easy assumption that the risk of COVID-19 has lessened. Yet, local public health officials and community leaders encourage people to remain vigilant in practicing safety precautions to mitigate the risk of becoming ill.

“As a state and as a community, restrictions are easing,” Spencer Mayor Kevin Robinson said. “And, while it’s exciting to be able to return to our local businesses and support them, we also know that the COVID-19 virus remains a risk and wish to encourage citizens to continue to practice safety measures.”

Colette Rossiter, Clay County public health manager, said that since a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 does not yet exist, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid exposure.

“Infection disease experts continue to learn more about this novel virus and have already learned that in addition to being spread person-to-person through respiratory droplets, the virus can live on surfaces for a time period,” Rossiter said. “Also, a person may not have symptoms, yet can be a carrier and sharer of the virus, so it’s beneficial when everyone practices safety measures, including thorough hand washing with soap and water or using an alcohol-based sanitizer, wearing a mask, and, when possible, maintaining a distance of 6 feet from others.”

If someone does become ill, it’s important to first call your healthcare provider who can assess your health status. For those who are able to remain in their home while recovery, follow these steps recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention:

—Stay home in isolation. Do not leave except to seek medical care.

—As much as possible, stay in a specific room of your home and away from other people and pets in your home. If possible, use a separate bathroom. If you need to be around others in your home, wear a cloth face covering to protect them.

—Monitor your symptoms. If you have difficulty breathing, seek immediate medical care. If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, a representative of public health will routinely contact you.

—Continue to cover your coughs and sneezes; wash your hands frequently; do not share personal household items (dishes, drinking glasses, towels, etc.) with others; and clean high-touch surfaces daily.

When the fever is gone and symptoms have improved, public health officials will use CDC guidelines to determine when an individual can end home isolation.

“We’ve been fortunate that to date our county has not been hit hard by COVID-19, yet, we’ve all seen the number of cases grow in our region,” Robinson said. “To help keep our local infection numbers low, we’re asking everyone to be mindful of how we can protect one another’s health and continue to keep our infection numbers low.

He added, “Shop our local stores and enjoy food and beverages from our local establishments, but please do your part to help keep our community healthy.”

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