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Federal and state agencies today report there are no confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in Virginia, but City of Danville officials are monitoring developments and taking steps to respond to an outbreak.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the immediate health risk of the new virus, termed COVID-19, to the U.S. public is low. However, the CDC and Virginia Department of Health advise citizens to take standard health precautions to avoid the spread of the respiratory virus.
“We urge residents and visitors in our city to heed the advice of these agencies,” City Manager Ken Larking said today. “We also want to assure our citizens that we are in conversation daily with state and local health agency and emergency management officials, and we want them to know that local officials are working to be as prepared as possible should an outbreak occur in our area.”
Fire and rescue personnel have been provided with instructions on how to respond to medical calls in which patients are exhibiting flu symptoms. COVID-19 is a flu-like respiratory illness that begins with a cough and fever and can include shortness of breath. Symptoms range from mild to severe.
“The goal is to make sure they understand what questions to ask so that we can inform the emergency room and the health department,” said Tim Duffer, assistant fire chief and deputy emergency management coordinator for the City of Danville. “We are also reinforcing proper preventive measures such as hand washing and making sure first responders clean their personal protective equipment after every call.”
The Virginia Department of Health provides the following advice to help prevent respiratory illnesses of any kind, including COVID-19, year-round:
The CDC does not recommend that healthy people wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
How can I learn more about COVID-19?
If you have concerns that you may be sick from COVID-19, the Virginia Department of Health advises that you contact your healthcare provider.
Visit the Virginia Department of Health website: http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/surveillance-and-investigation/novel-coronavirus/
Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/index.html.
Visit the World Health Organization website: https://www.who.int/