Coronavirus (COVID-19) Situation Awareness Report – March 10, 2020
COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving new respiratory disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed COVID-19 cases. Symptoms of this infection may appear 2-14 days after exposure and include fever, cough and shortness of breath, and in severe cases, pneumonia (fluid in the lungs). Call your healthcare professional if you develop symptoms, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19. By calling first, medical staff can arrange for a visit that does not put other patients or staff at risk of infection.
There is currently no treatment or prevention for COVID-19, and there is no expectation that population-wide prophylactic measures such as opening an Emergency Dispensing Site (EDS) to provide medication or vaccines to the public will occur in the near future. A vaccine is projected to take at least a year to develop, and anti-viral medications are still under review for effectiveness.
To mitigate the spread of the virus, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker declared a State of Emergency in response to COVID-19. Declaring a state of emergency facilitates and expedites the use of Commonwealth resources and deployment of federal and interstate resources to protect persons from the impacts of the spread of COVID-19.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has instituted a Public Health Incident Management Team to manage the public health aspects of the incident. Easthampton officials are coordinating with this Management Team as well as local and regional agencies to prepare for, respond to, and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 to protect the health and welfare of the people of Easthampton and the Commonwealth.
Keep informed with reliable sources of information at https://www.cdc.gov and https://www.mass.gov/resource/information-on-the-outbreak-of-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19 Information about City actions in response to COVID-19 can be found at www.easthamptonma.gov, www.facebook.com/easthampton413 and for our schools at www.epsd.us.
Actions to Prevent and Mitigate Exposure To COVID-19
Many of the things you do to help prevent colds and the flu can help protect you against other respiratory viruses, including COVID-19:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean things that are frequently touched (like doorknobs and countertops) with household cleaning spray or wipes.
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue or your inner elbow, not your hands.
- Stay home if you are sick and avoid close contact with others.
Additional recommendations include:
- Avoid large gatherings if you are at higher risk.
- Higher risk includes these groups: Older adults, Anyone with underlying health conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, with weakened immune systems or who is pregnant
- Postpone or cancel non-essential large events and gatherings.
- Postpone or cancel school travel, both international and domestic AND strongly consider canceling activities that involve hosting either domestic or international students or teachers.
- Post preventative posters in public places: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-printable-fact-sheets