Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein Monday offered a presentation on COVID-19 – coronavirus – attended by about 50 people at the Moot Community Center on High Street.
The informational session was called by Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen and attended by County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz.
Some takeaways from the event:
• There are many different strains of the coronavirus, some of which are responsible for the common cold.
• There are no known cases of the virus in Erie County, or anywhere else in Western New York.
• Erie County is working on a containment strategy to slow or stop the spread of the virus, once cases are identified in the county.
• That includes quarantines for people who have a known source of contact with the virus or who have recently traveled to one of the countries – such as China, Italy or Iran – that have become hot spots for the virus.
• The county's strategy is to prevent new cases of the virus once it has been identified in Erie County, because containment strategies can rapidly identify new cases of the virus.
• Erie County recently opened its own laboratory that allows for testing of the coronavirus – which means it can process its own results without having to go through the state Department of Health or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
• County residents were warned that they can't just show up at the county lab for a test. They must go through their primary health care providers.
• So far 11 people in Erie County have been tested for the coronavirus. All the tests have come back negative.
• There is no vaccine or antiviral medication to treat the coronavirus, so other interventions are going to be paramount to contain the spread of the virus.
• To contain the spread of coronavirus, residents were advised to wash their hands often – for at least 20 seconds – with soap or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Residents were reminded to practice good respiratory etiquette, which includes coughing into the crook of one's arm.
• Residents who are sick are advised to stay home and avoid work or being in public if they feel sick, as a precaution to keep the spread of the virus at bay.