Flu still primary concern in N.Y.

Despite the rapid spread of the coronavirus in China and a handful of cases in the United States, there are no confirmed cases in New York State. Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/TNS

WATERTOWN — While the number of samples sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing has risen to 10, so far there are no confirmed cases of the novel (new) coronavirus in New York state.

Out of the 10 samples from individuals, seven have been found to be negative and three are still pending.

According to Stephen A. Jennings, health planner for Jefferson County, the area’s proximity to Fort Drum and the Canadian border complicates things a bit in terms of the novel virus and its possible spread to the county, but influenza remains the main concern for the moment.

“We’re always concerned about it because the world is smaller and people are very mobile today and we’re working closely with the state health department, but we’re much more concerned about flu here than the coronavirus,” he said.

So far, there hasn’t been anyone in Jefferson County thinking they have the novel coronavirus, according to Mr. Jennings.

Symptoms of the novel coronavirus may include a cough, a sore throat, and/or a fever.

While there is currently no vaccine for this novel coronavirus, everyday preventative actions can help stop the spread of this and other respiratory viruses such as the flu, including:

— Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds

— Avoiding touching eyes, noses and mouths with unwashed hands

— Avoiding close contact with people who are sick

— Staying home when sick

— Covering coughs or sneezes

— Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces

With so much information going out about the coronavirus right now, Mr. Jennings continues to encourage everyone to get a flu shot to prevent against the four most common strains.

Statewide, there have been over 13,000 confirmed cases of the flu this year compared to a little over 4,000 last year.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(1) comment

Holmes -- the real one

Nice column, Rachel Burt. The recommendations included are excellent. Often people forget that touching the eyes or nose with unwashed hands provides a direct entrance for respiratory viruses -- mostly just because we tend to do that almost unconsciously.

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