Liberty, NY – Sullivan County Public Health Director Nancy McGraw and Sullivan County Manager Joshua Potosek jointly issued the following statement today:
“Sullivan County currently has multiple cases of COVID-19 (2019 Novel Coronavirus) and is responding as aggressively and proactively as its limited resources allow. While you may be seeking refuge from the larger amount of cases downstate, you must be aware that this is a global pandemic. You and your family have a critical role to fulfill in halting the rapid spread of this potentially deadly virus, which can be dangerous and even fatal to the elderly and people with underlying health conditions.
Coronavirus has killed thousands of people worldwide in just the past month, and cases continue to grow. The novel coronavirus pandemic has impacted New York State, which is responding with all resources to contain a growing number of cases, which included 2,480 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 16 deaths as of midday March 18. Sullivan County has several confirmed cases, and the number of potential exposures is increasing, requiring a great deal of resources by Public Health and other government personnel to contain and limit further transmission.
A vaccine does not yet exist, and the effectiveness of existing treatment varies from person to person. Travel into Sullivan County from any area at this time is inadvisable and is highly discouraged. But if you do make your way here, you are expected to adhere to the following:
• Please DO wash your hands often and for at least 20 seconds, using soap and water. Make sure your family does this, as well. If soap is not available, use hand sanitizer.
• Please DO cough and sneeze into a tissue or your arm, then wash your hands. Avoid touching your face.
• Please DO maintain calm. Panicked hysteria or angry responses will make things worse, not better.
• Please DO limit social activities to your family only. This includes all activities involving contact with other persons outside of the home.
• Please DO enjoy the outdoors, but maintain a distance of at least six feet from other people.
• Please DO, if you or a family member have a fever, persistent cough or shortness of breath, isolate yourself or them and call your healthcare provider.
• Please DON’T travel here from another county or geographic area (including the five boroughs of New York City) which is experiencing community transmission of COVID-19. It is far better for you to stay home and limit your movements.
• Please DON’T have an expectation that resources will be available to you here that are not available to you in your home town. Sullivan County has a limited number of healthcare resources, and testing capacity is also very limited.
• Please DON’T violate the Executive Order issued by the Governor of New York State. Congregations of more than 50 persons are a direct violation of this Order and will be prosecuted. Should large numbers of individuals move up to Sullivan County while COVID-19 community transmission is occurring, it will quickly overwhelm the healthcare, public health, public safety and government. Help may not be available to you if you become in need of medical attention.
• Please DON’T call Sullivan County Public Health Services. If it is a life-threatening emergency, dial 911. Otherwise, contact the State Coronavirus Hotline at 1-888-364-3065, call your own healthcare provider with questions, or use the links provided below.
• Please DON’T constantly go out in public spaces. If you haven’t brought with you everything you need for your stay, get the remaining items in one shopping trip and then stay close to your property.
• Please DON’T go to unnecessary appointments.
• Please DON’T utilize local healthcare providers unless you absolutely have to. They are deeply impacted by this current crisis and cannot be expected to handle an enormous increase in patient requests. Your own healthcare provider is your best choice.
• Please DON’T go to the hospital or doctor’s office without calling first – in ANY situation, sick or not. Access to healthcare facilities is heavily restricted due to the pandemic, in order to limit continued spread of coronavirus.
• Please DON’T hug, kiss or otherwise touch anyone who is not your immediate family. Personal contact is a major way this disease spreads.
For comprehensive information, visit www.coronavirus.health.ny.gov. For official Sullivan County information, visit www.sullivanny.us/departments/publichealth/coronavirus.”