Important Note to Families Regarding the Coronavirus
A new coronavirus called 2019 Novel (new) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was first found in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. This virus had not been found in humans before. This coronavirus can lead to fever, cough and trouble breathing or shortness of breath. There are thousands of diagnosed cases in China and new cases being diagnosed in a number of countries including the United States.
What do we know?
Since this virus is very new, health authorities continue to carefully watch how this virus spreads. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working hard to learn as much as possible about this new virus, so that we can better understand how it spreads and causes illness. The CDC considers this virus to be a serious public health concern. The latest information from the CDC related to 2019 Novel Coronavirus can be found here.
How Does 2019 Novel (New) Coronavirus Spread?
According to the CDC, the virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person: between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet); through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
There are currently no vaccines available to protect against this virus. The New York State Department of Health (DOH) recommends the following ways to minimize the spread of all respiratory viruses, including 2019-nCoV:
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
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 mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
CDC recommends that travelers avoid all travel to China.
What is OCM BOCES Doing in Response?
At OCM BOCES, we currently have extensive cleaning measures in place to combat the spread of cold and flu-like viruses in our buildings. We have been increases these measures as a result of the coronavirus. Additionally, we are continuing to promote effective handwashing in our schools and workplace, while encouraging those who are ill to stay at home. These practices are recommended to reduce the spread of illness.
Information to date suggests that 2019-nCoV causes mild-to-moderate illness and symptoms like the flu, including fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.
This is an emerging, rapidly changing situation. Please contact your local department of health or the NYS DOH Novel Coronavirus hotline at 1-888-364-3065 with questions.