County health board updated on coronavirus guidelines

MAYVILLE — Chautauqua County Health and Human Services Director Christine Schuyler briefed the board of health recently on updated procedures regarding the nationwide containment of coronavirus.

Federal guidelines from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are being passed down to state and local governments to ensure that there is uniform application of policy.

“These new monitoring requirements went into effect 5 p.m. Sunday (Feb. 9),” Schuyler said. “There are certain requirements that are coming down to local health departments. One of the main responsibilities that is falling upon us is the requirement for isolation and quarantine. Anyone right now coming from traveling in China, people are being funneled through 11 airports in the nation. Two of those are near us, JFK and Newark (New Jersey). So anyone who is coming in, they are screened and then can be isolated within their home county. We will be notified if this happens for us by the state Health Department. We will be notified by the border patrol and CDC and this whole chain of command.”

The county has not been notified of the need to quarantine any residents. In the event they need to do so, Schuyler did brief the board on those procedures.

“We will have to assess the person’s place of residence, wherever they would be sheltered, and isolate the place if it is appropriate.”

Regardless of if a person is showing signs or symptoms of infection, he will still be subject to quarantine for the 14-day period if he returns from travel in China.

“Very importantly, if someone is being isolated for the 14-day incubation period their family members, let’s say spouse, children. There are no restrictions on them. They can go to school, they can go to work, they have not been exposed. As long as there is no exposure there are no restrictions on other family members in the household,” Schuyler said. “If someone’s household or where they want to shelter in place for isolation is not appropriate then it is up to us to find a place, a facility of some sort, for people to be quarantined.”

“We are working on that along with many other counties in trying to establish where that would be for someone to be quarantined that can provide the list of requirements that the state health department has sent out.”

Schuyler noted that many businesses, including those in Chautauqua county, have stopped sending personnel to China in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

While stating that the county health department is prepared to deal with any future need for quarantine, Schuyler and other members of the board went on to note that influenza should still be a local concern.

“I’m hoping that because the prevention strategies really are the same, whether it’s respiratory virus coronavirus or it’s influenza, that people are more aware of the need to wash your hands,” Schuyler said. “To cover your cough, to stay home when you are sick, to keep your kids home when they are sick. Do the normal preventive measures we would always say for any of these respiratory illnesses that are out there.”

One resource that was cited by the board as a source of information on coronavirus was the World Health Organization website at who.int.


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