(STAFF REPORTS/Chewelah Independent)
The Colville School District announced Sunday night that its schools would be closed on Monday, March 2nd as a person is under investigation for the coronavirus (COVID-19). The district said that it is awaiting test results and that its schools will be closed until test results are returned, which could take one to three days.
“As a precautionary measure, the school district will use this time to disinfect the buildings,” the press release said.
Spring sports, field trips, zero hour, pre-school and after-school activities have also been cancelled for March 2 in Colville as well.
Currently there are twelve confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the state of Washington and six people have died, while hundreds of people are under public health monitoring. The NE Tri-County Health District reccomends the following to reduce the risk of catching the virus and any other viral respiratory illnesses.
-Wash your hands frequently.
-Avoid touching your mouth and eyes.
-Cover your coughs and sneezes.
-Stay away from people who are sick.
-Stay at home when you are sick.
The Washington State Department of Health has established a call center to address questions from the public about novel coronavirus. The public may call 1-800-525-0127 and press #. Additional information and resources may be found at www.netchd.org and www.doh.wa.gov/coronavirus.
(The following is information from Tri-County Health and the Washington Department of Health)
WHAT IS THE CORONAVIRUS?
Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus strain spreading from person-to-person in China and other countries, including the United States. In some instances, cases outside of China have been associated with travelers from China. Health experts are concerned because little is known about this new virus and it has the potential to cause severe illness and pneumonia in some people.
HOW DOES THE CORONAVIRUS SPREAD?
Health experts are still learning the details.Currently, it is thought to spread:
– via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
– between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
HOW SEVERE IS THE CORONAVIRUS?
Experts are still learning about the range of illness from novel coronavirus. Reported cases have ranged from mild illness (like a common cold) to severe pneumonia that requires hospitalization. So far, deaths have been reported mainly in older adults who had other health conditions
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
People who have been diagnosed with novel coronavirus have reported symptoms that may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus:
WHO IS AT RISK FOR THE CORONAVIRUS?
Who is at risk for novel coronavirus?
Currently the risk to the general public is low. At this time, there are a small number of individual cases in the U.S. To minimize the risk of spread, health officials are working with healthcare providers to promptly identify and evaluate any suspected cases.
Travelers to and from certain areas of the world may be at increased risk. Although coronavirus originated geographically in Wuhan, China, the disease is not specific to any ethnic group. Chinese ancestry – or any other ancestry – does not make a person more vulnerable to this illness.
HOW CAN YOU PREVENT THE CORONAVIRUS?
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
-Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
-Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
-Stay home when you are sick.
-Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
-Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
-Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
-Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
-Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
-If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.