Erie County Department of Health Prepares for Coronavirus

There are currently no confirmed cases in the county

WBEN Newsroom
January 25, 2020 - 2:21 pm
Coronavirus being tested in a lab

Getty Images

Buffalo, N.Y. (WBEN) - As concerns spread nationwide, the Erie County Department of Health is working with the New York State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prepare for potential cases of 2019 novel coronavirus.

“At this point we have no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in Erie County, and we are closely following the most recent guidance and recommendations from CDC and NYSDOH to coordinate any local response,” said Erie County Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein.

Erie County's Department Of Health is prepared to support local health care facilities and providers in identifying patients who have novel coronavirus symptoms and a travel history to affected areas in China, or close contact with a confirmed case or of a person under investigation for Coronavirus while that person is ill.

“Novel coronavirus symptoms are similar to other respiratory illnesses, including influenza,” said Dr. Burstein. “We would like to remind Erie County residents to continue to take steps to prevent the spread of respiratory infections with frequent handwashing, staying home if you are sick, and avoiding close contact with people who are ill.”

On Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo outlined the state response to Coronavirus after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced two confirmed cases in the United States - one in Washington State and one in Chicago. The State Department of Health currently has four persons under investigation for novel coronavirus that are under isolation as their cases are being tested at the CDC. So far, one of these cases has been proven negative and three are still pending. While the risk for New York is currently low, the Governor is calling for increased vigilance to ensure New Yorkers are protected.

"As we learn about the first confirmed cases of this novel coronavirus in the United States and potentially in New York, I want to assure New Yorkers that we are prepared," Governor Cuomo said. "We are undertaking a wide-reaching and rigorous effort with all stakeholders, including healthcare providers, airports and federal health officials, to put in place the appropriate precautions to keep New Yorkers safe. The symptoms of this virus are very similar to a common cold - if you are concerned that you might be ill, please follow our guidance to protect yourself and others."

Last week the Department of Health issued guidance to healthcare providers, healthcare facilities, clinical laboratories and local health departments to provide updated information about the outbreak, and ensure the proper protocols are in place if a patient is experiencing symptoms consistent with the novel coronavirus, had a travel history to Wuhan, China, or had come in contact with an individual who was under investigation for this novel coronavirus.  

Comments ()