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Steuben Public Health updates information on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

BATH -- The risk of catching the novel Coronavirus in Steuben County currently remains very low, county Public Health officials said Tuesday. "Although two cases have been confirmed in New York, there have been no cases in Steuben County, and the individual undergoing voluntary quarantine two weeks ago was cleared," said county Public Health Director Darlene Smith. In the event a case is confirmed in Steuben and the person cannot be quarantined at home, an alternative location has been located to house anyone requiring quarantine. Local hospitals, medical personnel and emergency medical responders are updated on the proper procedures. The novel coronavirus – now known as COVID-19 – affects people more severely with weak immune systems, such as the elderly and those with chronic lung diseases. "In 80 percent of the cases, this virus is very mild. Typical coronaviruses cause the common cold, and for many this novel strain is similar to a cold," Smith said. "But for those who have weakened immune systems, COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses -- like the flu or pneumonia -- can be more serious, and those are the cases that we hear more about in the news." Smith said her department has safeguards in place in the unlikely event the illness spreads closer to Steuben. She stressed nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) at this time would be effective if cases are confirmed nearby. "NPIs are actions that can slow the spread of disease and are activities that can be relied upon outside of vaccines," Smith said. "We’ve shared the importance of everyday health practices like washing hands often, cleaning frequently touched surfaces, and covering coughs and sneezes." If COVID-19 is ever reported closer to Steuben, other NPIs would include limiting social spread by staying home when sick and cancelling activities where large amounts of people gather, including schools, workplaces and public events. Smith said her department is monitoring reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state Department of Health. In addition, vaccine research has been fast tracked. "It is still unlikely COVID-19 will spread throughout Steuben County," Smith said. "But we’ll be ready if it does."

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