Corona Virus - COVID 19 - Could it affect us?
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By Gretta Becay

With the news outlets full of stories about the Corona Virus/COVID 19, could it affect us in Dodge County?

Amy Caron, Dodge County Public Health Director, explained that it’s possible; especially with our mobile society and the proximity to Rochester with its many visitors from all over the world.

Right now, there have not been any suspect cases in the county. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) would confirm if there were and state personnel would notify local health officials.

Also, staff members from the county public health department are participating in weekly calls with the MDH, “for situational awareness,” she said.

Officials from the MDH are in contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We have our communications flowing and our ducks in a row at the county level,” Caron said.

She explained that the county has had a Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program in place for health emergencies for almost two decades. Each situation is a little different.

Caron and Public Health Staff are meeting with Matt Maas, County Emergency Management Director, on a regular, frequent basis, “as this situation rolls out,” she explained.

In the meantime, what can you do to prepare?

The MDH website has many resources to help you deal with this threat.

As always,

1. Stay home if you’re sick.

2. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water often. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests you wash for at least 20 seconds before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or being out in public.

3. Cover your cough.

4. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

5. Disinfect frequently touched objects such as cell phones and remote controls with regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Prepare for an outbreak. These are good plans for any disruption including those that are weather-related.

1. Do you have back up plans for childcare if schools or childcare providers are closed, or parents are ill?

2. Do you have on hand any prescriptions needed (check your refill dates) and fever-reducing medications?

3. Do you have supplies of non-perishable food supplies in your home? These would allow you to avoid going to the store if there is a ‘period of high transmission’ of the disease.

Equally important; don’t over-react and become stressed out. By taking the above precautionary and preparatory steps, you’ll feel a little more in control of the situation.

“Dealing with the threat of COVID-19 is upsetting because it is outside the range of a normal day to day experience. You may feel anxiety, or fear for yourself and your loved ones becoming exposed to the virus. At the same time, you may be feeling overwhelmed by the constant, rapidly changing, and often conflicting information provided by the media regarding the growing danger of COVID-19. While it is critical during this time to take care of your physical health, you also need to pay attention to your emotional health.” Minnesota Department of Health website.

The CDC website explains that the virus is a new type of coronavirus (looks like a crown) that was first detected in China. It was named SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” which abbreviates to ‘COVID 19’.