With the recent spread of the Coronavirus into the state of North Carolina, local residents are advised to equip themselves with knowledge and resources to be prepared in the chance that they could come into contact with the illness.
“The recent coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is a rapidly evolving situation with new information available each day. It’s important for families to stay up to date on trustworthy facts,” says local healthcare provider Cone Health on its website, conehealth.com. “COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning how it spreads, the severity of illness it causes, and to what extent it may spread in the United States.”
The following information is courtesy of Cone Health, and additional information can be accessed athttps://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html.
How COVID-19 Spreads
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Can someone spread the virus without being sick?
People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
How easily the virus spreads
How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.
The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas.
Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.
The office of Mark Johnson, the North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction, has provided the following tips and resources that local residents can take to help stop the spread of germs.
Avoid close contact
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
Stay home when you are sick
If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.
Cover your mouth and nose
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Flu and other serious respiratory illnesses, like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), whooping cough, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), are spread by cough, sneezing, or unclean hands.
Clean your hands
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Hand washing resources from the "It’s A SNAP" program, aimed at preventing school absenteeism by promoting clean hands, are available online at http://www.itsasnap.org/Learn-More/About-Us. From the School Network for Absenteeism Prevention, a collaborative project of the CDC, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the American Cleaning Institute.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
Practice other good health habits
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
Alamance-Burlington School System Coronavirus Update
The Alamance-Burlington School System provided the following Coronavirus update:
By now, you have certainly seen a lot in media reports about a new virus, coronavirus (COVID-19), that is affecting citizens in some foreign countries and, more recently, in the United States. We have begun preparation for the potential spread of COVID-19 in our community.
ABSS has a very close working relationship with the Alamance County Health Department (ACHD) that governs protocols regarding any type of communicable disease like influenza, pertussis (whooping cough), norovirus, etc. Our local ACHD professionals are the authoritative source for protocols needed for all health-related issues. We follow all recommendations and advice they issue regarding student and staff health and safety.
We are in close communication with our health department partners, and will share with our staff and parents all recommendations that they may make. As a district, we continue to monitor closely news and updates about the issue at the state, national and international levels. We will continue to share updates with helpful information as long as needed in the event that this virus affects our community.
Please check the ABSS website for helpful tips and information about this new virus. If you have questions or concerns related to COVID-19, please call 866-462-3821 for more information. Press 1 for English or to ask for a language interpreter. Spanish speakers should press 2.
“ABSS continues to be in close communication with Alamance County Health Department regarding COVID-19,” Alamance-Burlington School System Superintendent Dr. Bruce Benson said.
“At this time, ABSS custodial staff is well-stocked with commercial-grade disinfectants and we are working with the Budd Group to leverage its industrial supply chain. While Alamance County is currently believed to be at low risk, ABSS is prepared to implement additional cleaning protocols. ABSS restrooms and classrooms with sinks are stocked with antibacterial soap products. The CDC-approved 20-second hand washing method is encouraged.”
“If necessary, ABSS is prepared to take additional measures including providing for some form of instructional continuation in the event it becomes necessary to close one or more schools for an extended period of time. Principals will be meeting with school staff over the next few days to share additional information,” Benson continued.
Consumer Alert: Don’t Let Scammers Exploit Your Coronavirus Fears
Fears about the coronavirus and news of infections are on the rise, so scammers and fraudsters are sure to follow. Recent media reports detail unscrupulous sellers touting fake treatments listed at outrageous prices. Scammers are setting up bogus websites, emails, texts, and social media posts to take people’s hard-earned money.
The office of North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein is watching the news closely, in hopes that residents will not fall victim to coronavirus scams. The best way to protect yourself is to follow these tips:
Be skeptical of “miracle cures”
Ignore online offers for vaccinations, pharmaceuticals, and medicines. If you are unsure about a product, check with a doctor before you buy it. Remember, as all scams go – if it’s too good to be true – it probably is.
Watch out for high-priced or low-quality products
Because of high demand, prices are increasing on products like hand sanitizers and face masks. Moreover, some of these products may not even be of the quality they promise. Consider health recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control when deciding whether a purchase is necessary. If you are unsure about a product, check with a doctor or health professional before you buy it. Research before you make a purchase and try to buy from reputable companies with a reliable record – and don’t pay an unfair price for something you may not need.
Don’t let anyone rush you
Avoid offers that are only good “now or never.” Fears about the spread of coronavirus mean that many people are making decisions under pressure – walk away from high-pressure sales pitches or cure-all promises.
Watch out for phishing emails
Criminals will try to steal your money and information by sending you phony communications. If a person claiming to be an expert on coronavirus contacts you, ignore them. Double-check links before you click on them, and don’t open anything from an unfamiliar sender.
Look out for unauthorized or fraudulent charities
A lot of false information is floating around about the coronavirus. Stick to reputable sources – visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (cdc.gov), World Health Organization (who.int), or the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (ncdhhs.gov) websites for more information, or contact your doctor if you have questions.
If a company contacts you and you’re unsure of their authenticity or if you believe that you have been the victim of a scam, contact our office’s Consumer Protection Division at ncdoj.gov/file-a-complaint or 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.