Montgomery Township municipal officials released a recent statement to inform area residents about the dangers of the coronavirus.
Officials said a coronavirus is a type of common virus that can infect the respiratory tract and can spread similar to cold viruses.
“They tend to circulate in the fall and winter,” officials said in a statement. “Almost everyone gets a coronavirus infection at least once in their lifetime, most likely as a young child. Sometimes a novel (new) type of coronavirus emerges and begins infecting humans, like in Wuhan, China. Since the coronavirus is new and people have not developed resistance to it, the virus is causing an outbreak of respiratory illness.”
While the CDC considers this to be a “serious public health concern,” based on current information as of Jan. 28, officials said the immediate health risk from the 2019-nCoV to the general American public is considered low at this time.
Officials said the Montgomery Health Department is working with the state department of health to closely monitor the situation and distribute guidance documents for health care professionals to develop an effective response for any reported cases that may be identified in the state.
“Let’s do a reality check here. There is a lot of flu in our community right now, and there is no nCoV now,” Montgomery Health Officer Stephanie Carey said in a statement. “If you are sick with flu, or a stomach bug, or a cold, please stay home. If you haven’t had a flu shot yet this season, get one right now to reduce the number of illnesses.
“Get your information from reliable sources – like those listed here – social media is fast, but can be inaccurate. People who aren’t sick have no restrictions. And finally, this situation is evolving, and the Health Department will continue to give updates as the situation changes,” Carey said.
The Montgomery Health Department is also working with the state to establish contacts in the event ill travelers be identified; and sharing guidance documents for investigating and managing suspect cases and their contacts.
Officials said it is recommended that individuals follow these public health guidelines, not just for coronavirus, but also to prevent the spread of influenza (which is widespread in New Jersey):
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue (then properly dispose of the tissue) or sleeve, not your hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after touching commonly used surfaces. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home if you are sick and avoid sick people.
- Review and follow CDC travel advisories (https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/alert/novel-coronavirus-china) when planning travel. If a person becomes ill after returning home to the United States, call your healthcare provider before going to a doctor’s office or emergency department of a hospital. They may want to place a mask on you before you enter the building to protect other people.
The state Department of Health has established a call center for people with questions about coronavirus (in partnership with NJ Poison Center) at 1-800-222-1222. A fact sheet is posted from the state Department of Health at: bit.ly/CoronaNJ
For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “FAQ on Coronavirus” website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html or call the Montgomery Health Department at 908-359-8211.