Amid the quarantines and daily death toll updates in the coronavirus outbreak, it’s important to note that no men, women or children have had to be tested for the disease in Greene and Columbia counties. Let’s hope it stays that way.

More than 1,000 deaths from the virus have been reported worldwide — all but two in China. But more than 40,000 people have been infected worldwide, making the mortality rate around 2%, according to the World Health Organization.

Common sense dictates concern over the outbreak that originated in China is justified, but it appears that New York state, where there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus, is doing something right.

Statewide, 23 people have been tested for the virus to date, and 22 tests have come back negative, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office. One test sample from New York City is still pending.

The Columbia County Department of Health released a statement last week concerning the outbreak: “The Columbia County Department of Health is actively monitoring for potential cases of coronavirus and is taking precautions to limit the impact if the virus is found in Columbia County.”

Symptoms of coronavirus — which gets its name from spiky appendages growing from the virion, giving it the look of a medieval mace — include mild to severe respiratory symptoms such as cough, fever, trouble breathing and pneumonia, according to the state Health Department. Symptoms are thought to appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus.

There is no vaccine for coronavirus, but, again, everyday commonsense actions can help stop the spread of the virus and other respiratory illnesses. These include washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; avoiding close contact with people who are sick; staying home when you are sick; covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throwing it in the trash; and cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.

It’s urgent that state and local health officials continue to take all necessary precautions to protect New Yorkers from the virus. While there are no confirmed cases of the virus in New York state, it can strike anytime, anywhere. And officials must be prepared to meet it anywhere.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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