Monterey County is Preparing for Impacts of COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus)
News about COVID-19, also called Novel Coronavirus, continues to dominate headlines and many may wonder how this affects us in Monterey County.
Monterey County’s Health Department regularly practices and prepares themselves and medical facilities for emergencies. The County’s team of public health professionals and medical providers have been monitoring COVID-19 since the first outbreak of this virus in China in December 2019 and have been actively preparing in the event the virus is detected here.
That preparation includes coordinating with local health partners including hospitals, urgent care centers, medical providers, laboratorians, and medical first responders, who are ready to act when needed. The County’s Public Health Laboratory is trained and prepared to provide local testing for COVID-19 when testing materials are received from the CDC.
In addition, the Monterey County Operation Area Emergency Operations Center has activated to Level 3 – its lowest level – to support the Health Department and local health partners in monitoring and preparing for COVID-19 and to coordinate increased public information efforts.
The COVID-19 respiratory illness outbreak is an evolving situation, with new information about affected individuals and updated guidance for reducing transmission of the virus coming out every day.
“While there is great public concern about this virus, there are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among Monterey County residents, and the risk of being exposed to COVID-19 in our community is currently low,” said Dr. Edward Moreno, Monterey County Health Officer. “However, we should all take sensible measures to keep ourselves and our families healthy.”
Many of the same steps residents take each year to protect themselves against seasonal flu will help reduce the spread of COVID-19:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
- Avoid touching your face with your hands;
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects often;
- Stay at least 6 feet away from a person who is ill;
- Consider delaying travel to areas with outbreaks of COVID-19; and
- If you haven’t already, get an influenza shot. Influenza is still circulating in our communities.
If you do get sick, to keep from spreading the virus to others:
- Stay home and avoid public or crowded areas;
- Cover coughs and sneezes with your elbow, not your hands;
- Consider the use of over-the-counter medications to reduce symptoms of fever, coughing, and congestion;
- Reserve emergency room visits for serious illness and medical emergencies like injuries, difficulty breathing, chest pain, and altered levels of consciousness; and
- Call your medical provider before visiting the office.Most otherwise healthy individuals with mild respiratory symptoms may not need to see a medical provider.
If you are concerned about a disruption due to the virus, using general preparedness methods may make you feel more secure, such as:
- Have a supply of all essential medications for your entire family;
- Make a childcare plan if you or your child’s caregiver is sick or there is a school closure;
- Know how you can care for a sick family member without getting sick yourself.
For more information about the coronavirus outbreak please visit the Department’s COVID-19 webpage at www.mtyhd.org/2019nCoV. Updates and other resources will be also be posted on the Department’s Facebook and Twitter pages.