Use common sense and follow simple rules when preparing for possible exposure to Coronavirus

It is widely known that there is an expanding global outbreak of a respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus. The disease the virus causes has been named COVID-19. Although there have been few known  cases in Iowa, the concern has continued to grow.

While most COVID-19 cases are associated with travel to or from China, person-to-person spread is now being reported in other places, including Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.

For the general public, who are unlikely to be exposed to the virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is low; however, the potential of the public health threat is high.

Talking points from the Iowa Department of Public Health include:

Advise parents that it is important to prepare for the potential of COVID-19 in the same way they prepare for severe weather or other events that could disrupt their normal routine.

Make a plan and discuss it with your family. What would you do if you could not go to work or school because of illness? What if your daycare provider was ill? How would you get groceries if you were ill? These are all questions to think about.

Advise parents that it is normal to be concerned about a new virus.

Being uncertain and anxious about COVID-19 is normal, especially with reports of illness and death in other countries. 

It is important to understand the risk of influenza is much higher than the risk of COVID-19 in Iowa right now. While COVID-19 is not currently circulating in the U.S. or in Iowa, influenza is circulating at high levels.  The prevention measures for influenza and COVID-19 are the same.  

Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your upper arm/elbow

Clean your hands frequently with soap and water

Contain germs by staying home when ill

Advise parents that your school is promoting proper hand washing by providing opportunities for hand washing and appropriate supplies.  

Also communicate that your school is continuing regular cleaning and disinfection of surfaces. 

Advise parents that it is critical for their children to stay home when they are ill. 

 

When Rumors Fly, Turn to Trusted Resources

When a new virus like coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) emerges on the public health scene, there are many questions. It is normal to be concerned about COVID-19, which has caused so much illness and death in China. Public health officials take every disease outbreak seriously and Allamakee County Public Health has been working closely with the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to learn about COVID-19 and its risk to Iowans.

In a time of uncertainty, social media becomes a platform for rumors and misinformation. “We are aware of misinformation about COVD-19 both locally, across Iowa and nationally,” said Allamakee County Public Health Director Lisa Moose. “It’s important for Allamakee County residents to rely on trusted sources of information like the CDC, IDPH and our public health agency.”

IDPH updates its COVID-19 website every Monday, Wednesday and Friday with current data on Iowans being monitored or tested for the virus, and what the test results are. The website is also updated immediately with new information as necessary.

Right now, the most important thing for Allamakee County residents to do is to continue the prevention measures they would use for any respiratory virus.

Use common sense and follow the simple rules: clean you your hand often with soap and water, cover coughs and sneezes with your elbow or upper arm; contain germs by staying home when ill.

For more information about the novel coronavirus, visit https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus.