Health officials say wear masks, don’t let guard down

Nancy Bell, Public Information Officer for the West Piedmont Health District, is among health officials to speak at a press conference Wednesday.

Although there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the City of Martinsville as of Wednesday, health officials continued to tout prevention as the best way to manage the illness.

CDC recommends that people wear cloth face coverings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, State Health Commissioner Dr. Norm Oliver said, endorsing a recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The recommendation is for people who must leave their home for essential needs (such as grocery shopping and picking up pharmacy medications), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. N95 respirators and surgical masks are not recommended in these situations so that they can be reserved for HCP and first responders, Oliver stated.

There is growing evidence of asymptomatic and presymptomatic spread. The CDC recently changed the start of the infectious period to 48 hours before symptom onset.

Oliver also advised that as community transmissions increase, healthcare facilities should consider additional actions to reduce the risk of their employees introducing COVID-19 into their facilities.

The letter also stated that mildly ill patients may not need to be tested and can be managed at home,” however contacting the local health department about suspected outbreaks of COVID-19 is still Additionally, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has updated work restriction recommendations to allow asymptomatic healthcare personnel who have had an exposure to a COVID-19 patient to continue to work after options to improve staffing have been exhausted and in consultation with their occupational health program.

“All Virginians should stay home and practice social distancing,” Scott Spillmann, M.D., M.P.H., director, Pittsylvania-Danville Health District, said. “If you have to go out for critical things like grocery shopping or medical care, stay at least six feet away from others. And wash your hands and surfaces often. These personal precautions apply to all of us, wherever we are, he said.

“This is the most effective way to protect yourself, those around you and those that will be around you tomorrow and in the days to come. The risk of exposure to COVID19 is everywhere, and we should all understand there is no safe place; there is only safe behavior, Spillmann added.

Older adults, especially those 65 and older, and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk for more severe complications from COVID19. Stay home and avoid close contact with people who are sick. “Even if you’re not at high risk for COVID19, you can do your part to stop the spread by staying home and practicing social distancing,” said Spillmann.

Although there are no confirmed cases in Martinsville, Nancy Bell, Public Information Officer for the West Piedmont Health District, which includes Henry County and the City of Martinsville, said people shouldn’t put their guard down at all.

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