THE LATEST ON THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) OUTBREAK
Oberlander Gives Update on Coronavirus Impact in PA
HARRISBURG, Pa. – To help people keep up-to-date on the information about the presence and spread of coronavirus here in the Commonwealth, Rep. Donna Oberlander put together a page of online resources that includes links to the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as news about school closures, PennDOT information and more.
Rep. Oberlander is also extending her personal thanks to everyone for their efforts during this challenging time.
“We have seen a lot of great community spirit, from volunteers providing food to our students to our local restaurants stepping up to offer carry-out and delivery services. And, most importantly, thank you to all of you on the front lines, especially our health care workers, truck drivers, teachers, and other essential personnel!” her message states.
Coronavirus 101 – What is it and how do I protect myself?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person to person. Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.
The CDC and PA Department of Health (DOH) suggest some simple steps you can take to protect yourself and others:
- Cover coughs or sneezes with your elbow. Do not use your hands!
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Clean surfaces frequently, including countertops, light switches, cell phones, remotes, and other frequently touched items.
- If you are sick, stay home until you are feeling better.
Why did the governor close our schools and businesses?
Information from the World Health Organization, the CDC, DOH and others clearly show that Coronavirus has been taking a toll on countries around the globe and is now having a wide impact across the United States. Cases have been reported throughout the state, and more than 100 have died across the nation, and more than 8,000 worldwide according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.
The vast majority of people afflicted with COVID-19 recover; however, it is especially dangerous for senior citizens and others with compromised immune systems. The closures outlined by the governor are designed to help prevent the spread of the virus to protect those vulnerable populations using the concept of “social distancing” – simply keeping people apart so as not to pass the virus from one person to another. Since a person may be a carrier of the virus for as much as two weeks without displaying any symptoms, simply telling people to stay home if they are not feeling well is not enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
With regard to businesses, the governor has ordered non-life sustaining businesses (which he defines as things like hair and nail salons, gyms, theaters, and sports venues) to close to help create social distancing. He has ordered bars and restaurants to discontinue dine-in services, but they may offer pick-up, take-out or drive through service. Even before businesses were urged to close temporarily, many had seen a significant drop in traffic, affecting both their bottom line and in many cases, that of their employees.
According to Rep. Oberlander, legislators are also aware of other situations and hardships created by this pandemic, and are working to address those as best and as quickly as they can. Her Facebook page will have continuous updates.
As suggested by the CDC, it is important we all stay calm, limit unnecessary travel and interactions with others, wash our hands, pay attention to how we are feeling and be patient. The House was in session earlier this week to vote on a rule change that will allow them to cast votes on legislation remotely if necessary. They will be looking at legislation to address unemployment needs, business assistance and more.
If you have questions, please feel free to contact Rep. Oberlander’s office online at www.RepOberlander.com or by phone at 814-226-9000 or 724-354-3500.
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