Don’t panic over coronavirus, officials say

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From left, Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus, Congressman Sean patrick Maloney and Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro discuss the coronavirus at a roundtable recently.

GOSHEN – Hudson Valley officials and medical professionals, led by Congressman Sean Maloney (D, NY-18) discussed the latest developments on the Coronavirus COVID-19 and what is being done locally to combat it.

Although medical professionals and officials made clear this situation is not a cause for panic, the number of infected in the Hudson Valley is certain to increase.

Maloney said government action is important.

“All of us expect that we will see additional cases of the Coronavirus here in our communities. That is not a cause for panic. At this point, it is almost certainly inevitable,” said Congressman Maloney. “If the federal government continues to get its response rapidly together, both on the resource level and on the information level, then we will be prepared to deal with this and we will all get through this together.”

During a roundtable discussion at the Orange County Emergency Services Center on Friday, the latest federal funding from the Congress COVID-19 Response Funding Bill, that was just passed that morning, was announced. The bill allocates over $8 billion total across the country, with $950 million going to states and localities, a portion of which is expected to go to New York.

Additionally, the state has passed $40 million in funding through the assembly for the same purpose. These funds will go to testing, community health centers, businesses that become affected due to the virus, treatment for the uninsured and improving remote care, including telehealth, among other things.

Orange County Health Commissioner Dr. Irina Gelman discusses the coronavirus while area public officials listen

Telehealth is especially important because medical professionals are urging people to stay away from the hospitals unless their symptoms are severe, since hospitals will inevitably be infection zones.

Orange County Commissioner of Health Dr. Irina Gelman encouraged using that medium and said they are actively improving access to it.

“It preserves continuity of care. It allows for that initial screening to happen remotely, rather than in person, so telehealth absolutely,” said Gelman. “We’re currently working on models to streamline the platforms and to ensure integration among platforms,” she said.

Other measures being taken are changes to hospital visitation procedures, daily updates between municipal leaders and the governor, some educational institutions and businesses meeting remotely and 911 screening for COVID-19 symptoms to alert hospitals beforehand about potential isolation for those individuals.

Much like other similar respiratory infections, such as the flu, COVID-19 is spread through airborne saliva and mucus. Preventative measures such as masks and gloves are recommended. Individuals are also encouraged not to shake hands or spend time in crowded areas.

The death-rate for COVID-19 is approximately 3.4 percent, which makes it more than the flu, but healthy adults are not in any real danger. The youngest, the oldest and individuals with preexisting respiratory illness will be the most at risk.

That being said, Hudson Valley residents should continue their lives normally, but take common sense precautions. At this point, there hasn’t been a cause to cancel large events and St. Patrick’s Day gatherings are expected to occur as scheduled.

More information about COVID-19, precautionary measures, testing, treatment and governmental action can be found at the New York State Department of Health website, or any county’s department of health website.