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2019 Novel Coronavirus Remains a Low Risk; Public Health Monitoring

Liberty, NY – Sullivan County Public Health Services, whose staff is actively monitoring COVID 19 (the 2019 Novel Coronavirus), urges residents to become informed and prepared for the impacts of this illness, which has dominated headlines of late.

This new version of coronavirus was recently detected in China and has not been previously found in humans. The virus can lead to fever, cough and shortness of breath, and there are thousands of confirmed cases in China, including outside the initial sites in Wuhan. Additional cases are being identified in a growing number of countries internationally, including the United States.

“There are ongoing investigations to learn more about this virus, and to date, no one has been diagnosed with this new coronavirus in New York State,” Sullivan County Public Health Director Nancy McGraw stated. “Residents should stay calm and take everyday precautions such as washing your hands, staying home if sick, covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing, and getting a flu shot (it’s not too late to get one).”

Indeed, the number of cases of influenza is still quite high in the County and throughout the State, so steps to take for the prevention of the spread of a wide range of respiratory illnesses continues to be an important message to share with others.

Sullivan County health officials are continuing to participate in regular State and Federal briefings and are in regular communication with Catskill Regional Medical Center, local healthcare providers, school officials, and emergency responders with updates and guidance.

Although what is known about COVID19 at this time is evolving, Public Health Services continues to perform communicable disease surveillance in conjunction with the New York State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control.

What to Look For

The 2019 novel coronavirus may cause mild to severe respiratory symptoms like:

  • cough
  • fever
  • trouble breathing and
  • pneumonia

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus shouldn’t be confused with other coronaviruses that have been around for many years, which themselves cause upper respiratory symptoms, like the common cold.

What to Do

For those who are experiencing symptoms and may have traveled to areas of concern (particularly Wuhan, China) or who have been in contact with somebody who has traveled to these areas or to other countries that are experiencing an increase in the number of cases, you should:

  • Seek medical care right away. Call ahead before going, and tell them about your travel and symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others. Stay home, except to seek medical care.
  • Avoid further travel until the illness resolves.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If that’s unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

It is currently flu season, and it’s not too late to get vaccinated. Call Sullivan County Public Health Services for an appointment at 845-292-5910 x 0, or contact your healthcare provider or area pharmacy.

There is a general Information line for the public who have questions about Novel Coronavirus: 1-888-364-3065.

Additional information and resources are available here: