BERKLEY – Coronavirus (COVID-19, 2019 Novel Coronavirus), not been previously found in humans has infected thousands of people in China and a rapidly growing number internationally. While COVID-19 infections within the United States remains low, there is potential for this illness to become widespread. Currently there are only two confirmed case in Massachusetts and the risk of contracting the COVID-19 is still considered low. This situation is rapidly evolving and the Berkley Fire Department remains in close contact with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Berkley Fire Department will be following any Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Center for Disease Control guidance to ensure the department is fully prepared to provide emergency services to the Town of Berkley should COVID-19 become widespread.
This coronavirus COVID-19 is a respiratory virus that can lead to symptoms including fever, cough, body aches, sore throat, nausea/vomiting, and shortness of breath. In severe cases, the coronavirus can lead to pneumonia. There is no specific treatment or vaccine available for the coronavirus / COVID-19, however, taking every day preventative actions to stop the spread of germs can prevent infection including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay at home if you are sick.
- Cover you cough and sneeze.
- Disinfect surfaces.
If you are feeling ill and have recently traveled to China or other country where COVID-19 is prevalent, or have been in close contact with someone who has recently traveled to China or other country where COVID-19 is prevalent, or you think you have symptoms related to the COVID-19, please contact your doctor or MDPH at (617) 983-6800 ASAP,or seek other immediate medical attention. Testing for the COVID-19 must be approved by MDPH via consult with a health care provider. When talking to your doctor, please mention any recent travel history outside the United States.
For additional information, please visit the following links:
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is telling Americans that they should be prepared for the possibility of a COVID-19 outbreak in United States. What does this message mean? Don’t panic, but do prepare. There are several common-sense things you can do to be ready should the virus hit the community.
At this time, MDPH is not recommending that people wear masks when in public as a preventive measure since the risk is still low, and because they can provide a false sense of security. Experts do agree that wearing a mask is a good idea if you are sick as it can reduce the chances that you’ll infect others. Some research suggests that wearing a mask can help protect you if you’re caring for a sick family member, but only if you wear it all the time in the presence of the sick person and if you are careful not to touch the front of it, which could be contaminated with pathogens.
It is still unknown how long the virus can survive on surfaces, however, standard household cleaners, such as bleach and Lysol, are effective in killing the virus. Even wiping down surfaces with soap and water can be extremely helpful in removing the virus. If COVID-19 does start circulating in the community or someone at home is sick, surfaces that are touched frequently should be cleaned several times a day (such as faucets and door handles).
Food and medication:
The reason to stock up on certain products now isn’t so much to avoid potential shortages in the event of an outbreak, but to practice social distancing. Should COVID-19 spread amongst the community, it is best to avoid crowd’s and heavily populated stores such as the grocery store and pharmacy. If you take daily medications it would be a good idea to have enough to last a couple of weeks (as long as you can get approval for an extended supply from your physician and insurance provider). It is also beneficial to pre-buy fever reducers (acetaminophen or ibuprofen) and think about adding enough nonperishable foods to your pantry to carry you through for a couple of weeks, as well as foods that you might commonly eat when ill like chicken or vegetable broth, crackers, and hydrating drinks such as Gatorade and Pedialyte.
Work and telecommuting:
It might be helpful to speak to your supervisor now to see about the possibility of working from home if COVID-19 spreads throughout the area. As with any illness, if you’re sick, you should stay home. Even if you are well, however, telecommuting makes sense in the event of a local outbreak to reduce the chances that you’ll be infected. This is even more crucial if someone works in the city and utilizes public transportation to travel to and from work.
What if I get sick?
If you show early signs of illness, such as a fever or a dry cough, and symptoms are mild, you should call your doctor’s office. Should you be experiencing more severe symptoms, seek medical attention at the nearest emergency room or urgent care. It is extremely important to notify the staff upon arrival of your symptoms and recent travel history so any necessary precautions to avoid the spread of infection can be taken. If you have children or someone who depends on you for care, you should also consider what your plan will be for childcare or other backup healthcare.
Habits to stay healthy:
Start a new habit today; wash your hands as soon as you walk through the door. One of the best ways to protect yourself against infection from COVID-19 (or cold or flu) is good hand hygiene. Washing your hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds, as well as avoiding touching your face, eyes and nose, is a way to cut down on respiratory infections from 30 to 50 percent. Also practice good respiratory etiquette; cough into your elbow and make sure to throw out used tissues right away.
If you do feel you need Emergency Intervention please do not hesitate to call 911, but notify the 911 dispatcher of your symptoms and/or recent travel history out of the country or contact with people with if applicable.