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CCHS has response plans in place

Anne Knowles | aknowles@nevadaappeal.com
This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, orange, emerging from the surface of cells, green, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. (NIAID-RML via AP)
AP | NIAID-RML

The Nevada Appeal asked Carson City Health and Human Services about the coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease it causes.

Nevada Appeal: First, some basic information about coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19. What are the symptoms and do they differ from the regular flu?

Carson City Health and Human Services: There are many types of human coronaviruses, including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. It is important to note that the virus causing COVID-19 is not the same as coronaviruses that circulate among humans and cause mild illnesses, like the common cold. Symptoms of COVID-19 are like those of flu and can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

NA: What should a person do if they are experiencing symptoms?

CCHHS: If a person is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is a resident of a community where person-to-person spread of COVID-19 has occurred or have traveled to a geographic area with sustained spread in the last 14-days, they should contact their healthcare provider and tell them about their symptoms.

NA: What should people do to minimize the risk of catching the virus?

CCHHS: The best way to prevent COVID-19 is similar to preventing any respiratory illnesses: avoid exposure. We recommend everyday preventative actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses including:

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Stay home when you are sick.

Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw that tissue in the trash.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. Remember to clean your cell phones.

Wash your hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Use a tissue when opening doors or when using a shopping cart, gas pump, escalator or other common objects used by multiple people.

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses.

NA: Does Nevada and Carson City have what is needed to test for the coronavirus?

CCHHS: Yes, the Nevada State Public Health Lab has the ability to test for and confirm COVID-19.

NA: If and when cases occur in Nevada how will they be reported to the general public?

CCHHS: If a case occurs in Nevada, the local health authority will report it to the general public. I cannot speak for other health authorities in the state. Carson City Health and Human Services would notify the general public through a press release, social media, and on our website gethealthy carsoncity.org.

NA: What are the different roles of the federal, state and local public health departments such as Carson City Health and Human Services?

CCHS: Carson City Health and Human Services is in constant communications with the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local healthcare partners. CCHHS receives notifications of travelers returning to Carson City, Douglas, or Lyon counties from China. We then follow up and monitor those travelers for 14 days, a period set by the CDC. At the end of the 14-day period, if they are not symptomatic, we stop following up with them. We also have response plans in place to support community health if COVID-19 were to spread to Carson City, Douglas, or Lyon counties.

NA: Is there any other information about coronavirus and COVID-19 that the general public should know?

CCHHS: We want to remind everyone that it is “flu season” and the best way to prevent the spread of all diseases is by washing your hands with soap and water, practicing social distancing, coughing and sneezing into your sleeve, and staying home if you are sick. This is an ever-evolving situation and CCHHS will continue to provide updates as they become available.