Coronavirus Reaches Monroe County
Updated: Mar 12, 2020
The COVID-19 outbreak has come to the Poconos. This afternoon, the Pennsylvania Department of Health announced that the Monroe County patient is one of ten "presumptive positive" cases in the commonwealth. More cases are expected for the state.
“While we anticipate that there will be more Pennsylvanians with COVID-19 in the coming days and weeks, it is important for residents to know the commonwealth is prepared and to be prepared themselves,” Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine told The Boro* in a written statement, “Right now, you have a higher chance of testing positive for COVID-19 if you have traveled to a country or state with known community outbreaks or have come in contact with someone who has the virus. We are working with the health care community across Pennsylvania to keep them informed, consult on patient testing and ensuring they have the resources they need to care for patients.”
Three days ago, Governor Tom Wolf signed an emergency disaster declaration. That declaration permitted state agencies involved in the response to the outbreak "have the expedited resources they need to continue to focus on the virus and its possible spread." Beginning today, the state's health department will provide daily press briefings on the status of the outbreak and response in Pennsylvania.
Symptoms of the COVID-19 can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. The symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying. Individuals most at risk for severe symptoms include elderly and those with pre-existing conditions.
The health department reminds Pennsylvanians to:
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol- based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
Clean surfaces frequently, such as countertops, light switches, cell phones and other frequently touched areas.
Stay home if you are sick.
Currently, there are over 111,000 cases worldwide, including nearly 3,900 deaths. There are 600 cases and 22 deaths to date in the United States. The Pennsylvania Department of Health expects cases to continue to be confirmed in the upcoming days and weeks but wants everyone to take action to help prevent the spread of the virus. “Further spread of this virus throughout the nation will likely occur. We encourage people to prepare for potential life disruptions. The same family emergency plans and kits that we use to prepare for flu or norovirus, and even snowstorms and floods, are important now." said Dr. Levine. “Since the start of flu season, we have encouraged Pennsylvanians to stop the spread of illnesses by washing your hands, covering coughs and sneezes, cleaning surfaces and staying home if you are sick. Those are the same healthy habits you should continue to practice to protect your family and yourself against the spread of this virus."