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What You Need To Know About Novel Coronavirus-19 And How To Protect Yourself

In the world of ever changing information, the Roosevelt County Health Department would like to provide our communities with as much information as possible concerning the novel coronavirus discovered in China mid-December 2019.

The current name, given by the World Health Organization, is COVID-19.

The virus was first detected in Wuhan City in the Hubei province of China. There, the virus “jumped” the species barrier from animal to human. The virus quickly began spreading from person to person. Since this is a novel virus, our immune systems have never been exposed to it and are unable to mount a defense.

Currently, a risk assessment is completed by the local and state jurisdictions for any persons meeting certain criteria. The criteria are based on travel to certain geographical areas, exposure and symptoms.

The symptoms of the disease are fever, cough and shortness of breath. If these symptoms are linked to a person who has recently traveled to China, Iran, Italy, Japan or South Korea, a risk assessment would need to be completed.

Currently, Montana has had one person under investigation who met these criteria. That person ultimately tested negative.

The Montana Department of Health and Human Services has a website that will provide the most up to date and verified information. https://dphhs.mt.gov. Once you go to the link, there is another link to get to the page relating to COVID-19.

What would I do to protect myself and others to prevent the spread of the disease:

•Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and warm water. Washing is best! Washing your hands kills viruses that may be on your hands.

•Maintain at least three feet from anyone who is coughing or sneezing. When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose and mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person has the disease.

•Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and make you sick.

•Make sure you and the people around you follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately. Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.

•STAY HOME IF YOU FEEL SICK! If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and CALL IN ADVANCE. Follow the directions of your local health authority, including the Roosevelt County Health Department. National and local authorities will have the most up-to-date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent the spread of viruses and other infections.

•Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. https://dphhs.mt.gov. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.

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