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Coronavirus (COVID-19): What You Should Know A Message from Your Health Officer

 

The COVID-19 situation globally, nationally, and locally is constantly changing and evolving every day. The Worcester County Health Department will provide consistent updates as new information becomes available to keep residents safe and informed. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers we’ve seen in our community.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a respiratory virus. This is a virus that hasn’t caused illness in humans before. COVID-19 is spread just like colds or flu through coughing and sneezing, which creates respiratory droplets, close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands, or touching an object or surface with the virus on it. Symptoms of COVID-19 include: fever, coughing, shortness of breath, and in more severe cases, pneumonia (infection in the lungs).

How can I protect myself from COVID-19?

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 
  • Stay home while you are sick. 
  • Avoid close contact with others. 
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. 
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces

How do I get tested for Coronavirus?

 

If you develop symptoms such as fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19, stay home and call your healthcare provider. Your doctor will determine if you have signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and whether you should be tested. If you do not have a primary care provider or symptoms worsen contact your local emergency room. 

 

What are the rules regarding crowds, businesses and events during the COVID-19 State of Emergency?

 

Effective immediately and until further notice, all bars, restaurants, gyms, and movie theaters across the State will close beginning 5 pm 3/16/20. Carryout, drive-through and food delivery will remain open. Grocery stores, banks, pharmacies, gas stations and other essential services would remain open. Utilities – including electric, gas, water, sewer, phone, cable TV and Internet companies – are prohibited from shutting off residential customers or charging late fees. No social, community, religious, recreational or sports gatherings of more than 50 people in close proximity anywhere in the State. This announcement comes directly from Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. Law enforcement is tasked with enforcing the executive order as it is a criminal offense to violate the Governor’s declaration

An up-to-date list of all of Governor Hogan’s declarations can be found at governor.maryland.gov/coronavirus/

 

Where can I go for more information?

 

The Worcester County Health Department (WCHD) has a call center operating Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm with staff available to answer questions. To reach the center call 410-632-1100 option #8. WCHD also operates an automated public information line 24/7 with messaging about COVID-19 (410-632-4321). Visit WorcesterHealth.org for up-to-date facts and information on COVID-19 locally. Follow @WorcesterHealth on Facebook and other social media for emerging updates. You can dial 2-1-1 any time for information on COVID-19 in the State of Maryland. Practice safe prevention habits and social distancing, check on friends, family and vulnerable neighbors (by phone). We understand that this can be a difficult and uncertain time for the residents and guests, but by using common sense prevention measures, maintaining social distance, and working together we will come out of this event a stronger community.

 

Thank you and please remember your health department is always working behind the scenes to protect the health of our residents.

Rebecca Jones, RN, BSN, MSN
Health Officer

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