Keeping people healthy: Wash hands, stay home if sick, Nevada County health officials say |

Keeping people healthy: Wash hands, stay home if sick, Nevada County health officials say

Sam Corey
Staff Writer


The coronavirus consists of a family of viruses that induce symptoms ranging from the common cold to a severe disease, according to the World Health Organization.

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The virus was first detected in December in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.

On Jan. 30, the World Health Organization declared what came to be known as the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern.”

No reports of the virus have been reported in Nevada County, the local health department said. According to the Sacramento Bee, officials said Wednesday a confirmed case of unknown origin is in Northern California. Officials declined to elaborate. It’s unknown where in the North State the case was found.

Local public institutions like the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools and Nevada County Health Department are coordinating to keep students and residents healthy.

Nevada County Superintendent of Schools Scott Lay is setting up a meeting with district superintendents and charter directors to “identify strategies to continue educating students if the coronavirus ever affects our county,” said Sharyn Turner, school health services coordinator for the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools, in an email.

On Jan. 30, a letter was sent home to parents of students letting them know that the education department is monitoring the public health situation. It also advised using some “best practices” to avoid spreading respiratory infections.

“Teachers and school nurses are providing additional hand-washing and other healthy behaviors lessons, such as covering their coughs and sneezes, and encouraging staff and students to stay home if (they) have flu symptoms,” Turner said in an email.

Local health care providers have been alerted as to what to look for in case a possible outbreak has been detected, according to a press release from the Nevada County Public Health Department.

During this time of heightened awareness, the health department recommends people do a number of things: stay home if sick; wash your hands frequently; cover a cough with a tissue; avoid touching your face; get a flu shot; and follow travel advisories set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the meantime, county Public Health Officer Dr. Ken Cutler said local officials are working to prevent the spread of all diseases, including the coronavirus.

“Our communicable disease staff work daily to identify, prevent and mitigate the spread of disease, COVID-19 included,” he wrote.

While new outbreaks have slowed in China, they are picking up steam across the world in places like Bahrain, Kuwait, Austria, Spain, Brazil and Afghanistan, according to Vox.

President Donald Trump declared Wednesday that the U.S. is “very, very ready” for whatever the coronavirus threat brings, and he put his vice president in charge of overseeing the nation’s response.

Trump sought to minimize fears of the virus spreading widely across the U.S. But he said he was ready to spend “whatever’s appropriate,” even if that meant the extra billions of dollars that Democrats have said is necessary to beef up the U.S. response. Trump had told Congress earlier this week that the government needed to spend $2.5 billion to fight the virus.

“We’re very, very ready for this, for anything,” even if it’s “a breakout of larger proportions,” Trump told a news conference.

Vice President Mike Pence will be working with the government’s top health authorities, and Trump’s earlier-appointed coronavirus task force, to oversee the response.

To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey, email or call 530-477-4219. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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