The following information was received from the Chesprocott Health District:
Local health departments have almost a dozen essential services they must provide to the communities they serve. At Chesprocott, we are constantly evaluating and monitoring the health status of our community and those that may affect ours. We do this in a variety of ways.
We receive communicable disease reports from labs and doctors’ offices. We communicate with our local hospitals and have access to real-time emergency room visits. And we collaborate with many health partners such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) and our local doctors, school nurses, and other local health providers.
Our main goal at Chesprocott is to prevent illnesses and diseases, but every once in a while we have to respond to an illness (or outbreak) and perform basic epidemiology methodology to determine what caused the illness and who is at risk of getting the disease, and put in place steps/actions to stop anyone else from getting sick. This is no different than what the World Health Organization (WHO) and CDC are doing on a much higher level for the current public health emergency that was declared on Jan. 31.
Chesprocott’s Public Health Emergency Response Plan guides our health department on how to respond to a public health emergency, such as a pandemic flu outbreak or a new emerging infectious disease such as 2019-nCoV (coronavirus). The first step is educating the public.
This is a new virus, so the information is changing daily and we need to make sure everyone gets the most up-to date information. Maura Esposito, the health director at Chesprocott said, “We have been forwarding updates to EMS, first responders (police and fire), our private and public schools and Town officials almost twice a week. CDC and DPH have been holding conference call updates twice a week and we will continue monitoring this till it’s over.”
If we need to conduct mass vaccinations, we have many community volunteers who participate on the “Citizens that Help in Disasters” team. In fact, Chesprocott will be conducting a drill on March 26 at the Prospect Fire Department. If anyone would like to be a volunteer, please call Chesprocott at (203) 272-2761.
Many local health departments are currently following up with residents that have come back from China to make sure they are self-quarantining and monitoring for 14 days for any signs and symptoms. As of Feb. 10, over 30,000 people have been screened at U.S. airports. There have been 398 “persons under investigation” who may have been infected, but 318 have been negative. Currently, there are only 12 confirmed infections in the U.S., and none in Connecticut.
Chesprocott is ready and prepared to address any public health issue that arise in our community and wants to remind residents that we are at the peak of flu season. Please follow these tips to avoid getting sick:
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Stay home if 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.
• Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or by using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
• Hands should be cleaned after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
Stay healthy and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at “Chesprocott Health District.”