LIBERTY, NY — As of February 7, there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New York State according to Sullivan County Public Health Services, which has been monitoring the situation as part of what they call “routine health emergency preparedness.”
“We gained a great deal of experience in responding effectively to last year’s measles outbreak, and our staff is prepared for any situation, should it occur,” said Nancy McGraw, Public Health Director. “We have also reached out to area healthcare providers to provide information.”
Worldwide, the death rate of the virus has been estimated to be anywhere from two percent to almost five percent with more than 43,000 cases reported as of February 11, mostly in China. That compares to a death rate of more than nine percent when the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus infected more than 8,000 people in 2002, mostly in Asia. The flu has a far lower death rate, although many more people get it. In 2019, there were 2.6 million cases of flu in the U.S. and about 1,300 people died from it, making the mortality rate about .013 percent.
The latest figures regarding COVID-19 can be found at www.worldometers.info/coronavirus.
The Sullivan County Public Health Services said there are steps people can take to help stop the spread of COVID-19, including: “Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; avoid close contact with people who are sick; 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.”
There is currently no vaccination available for COVID-19, but health services reminded the public it’s never too late to get vaccinated for the flu.