Officials say the risk for this virus in Frederick County is low.
Frederick, Md (KM) Frederick County is prepared in case the coronavirus comes to the area. That’s according to County Executive Jan Gardner who held a public information briefing on Monday afternoon. She said the county has been preparing for this situation for months. “Despite some rumors that are out there, the Frederick County Health Department hasn’t been notified of any positive cases of the coronavirus as of Saturday morning,”: says Gardner. “Labs and physicians are required to report cases to the Health Department.”
Currently, there are five confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Maryland: four in Montgomery County and one is Harford County. These patients contracted the virus while traveling overseas.
The Governor last week declared a state of emergency to deal with the coronavirus.
County Executive Gardner says the County Health Department has taken the lead on the coronavirus situation. “They’ve been working for weeks, closely monitoring the situation, insuring that health care providers in our community, first responders, higher education campuses and public facilities are prepared as this rapidly changing situation has evolved,” she said.
During the briefing, Health Officer Dr. Barbara Brookmyer said the risk for this area, and the rest of Maryland for the coronavirus is very low. “I fully recognize that biological systems are unpredictable, and that there is the potential that in Maryland–as what has happened in other states and the world–there is the potential for there to be community transmission or spread in the community,” she says.
But Dr. Brookmyer says residents should take the same precautions as they would to protect themselves from the flu, and that includes washing your frequently, not touching your face and staying home from work or school when you’re sick. In addition, drink plenty of fluids, eat a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly and manage your stress.
Also, she says keep plenty of pain relievers on hand, especially if you have to spend a considerable of time at home due to illness or quarantine. “In case you find yourself in a situation–probably not today, but if we get to the point where there is community spread–then, depending upon your personal situation, then you may want to take pain relievers or fever reducers, and you might not want to go out,” Dr. Brookmyer says.
This coronavirus situation is unlike other emergencies. . Jack Markey, Director of Emergency Management for the county, says the situation is dynamic. “This is likely to be measured in months, possibly years,” he says. “And I say that not to frighten anyone because vaccines for diseases take time to develop.”
County Executive Gardner says right now, there are no plans to cancel meetings or large public gatherings. “We have had a discussion internally, if that changes,” she says. “And the county has to ensure that we have our public processes, particularly for the budget. We will make sure that they happen in a different format so we meet all of our legal mandates.”
During the public information briefing, Dr. Manny Casiano, the Chief Medical Officer for Frederick Health Hospital, says no patients with the coronavirus have come into the hospital. “We are ready for this. We’ve been ready for years every since all the work we did some years back with becoming a special pathogens assessment hospital in the days of Ebola,” he says.
All of the participants at the public information briefing urged residents to stay informed about the coronavirus, and get their information from reliable sources, such websites for the Frederick County and Maryland Departments of Health, Frederick Health Hospital, and the CDC.
By Kevin McManus