As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, my office is committed to assisting constituents in any way we can. My staff and I are in continuous contact with the Governor’s Office and state agencies, as well as the County Executive and local officials to make sure we have the most up to date information. For the foreseeable future, my office will be operating remotely. However, with regards to serving constituents, it’s business as usual; we are ready to help you with any questions or concerns you may have. Below, you will find information you may find helpful as you and your family deal with the effects of this health crisis. While it is extremely important to take this seriously, it is also important to stay calm and avoid rumors and inuendo. Addressing this pandemic will be challenging and disruptive to our daily lives, but it is our collective mission to work together and do our part to help. As always, if you need anything, please do not hesitate to call 607-723-9047 or email email@example.com.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus, meaning that it has not been previously identified. There are a number of coronaviruses (named for the crown-like spikes on their surface) that affect humans, but this virus is different than the others scientists have already known about. The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19; ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.
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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. Older patients and individuals who have severe underlying medical conditions or are immunocompromised should contact their healthcare provider early, even if their illness is mild. If you have severe symptoms, such as persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion or inability to arouse, or bluish lips or face, contact your healthcare provider or emergency room and seek care immediately. Your doctor will determine if you have signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and whether you should be tested. (*Information courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control)
How to Protect Yourself & Others
There are simple steps you can take to protect yourself and help avoid spreading COVID-19 to others. First, understand how the virus is spread: through close contact with people (within six feet) who are infected, most often by respiratory droplets that are produced when someone coughs or sneezes. Washing your hands, with soap and warm water for 20 seconds, is among the most effective ways to prevent the spread of this, or any, virus. You should also cover coughs and sneezes, stay home if you aren’t feeling well, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and avoid public places as much as possible by “social distancing.”
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New York State has taken aggressive action to help curb the spread of COVID-19. Schools and colleges across the state have closed and moved to distance (online) learning; public gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited; restaurants, bars, and pubs have been limited to takeout and delivery only; gyms, movie theaters, and casinos are also closed. While this may seem extreme, limiting the amount of interaction we all have with one another is critically important to slowing the spread of the virus. This idea is known as “flattening the curve.” If no precautions are taken, the virus will spread exponentially as each infected person, on average, will infect three more; by utilizing social distancing the number of cases will be fewer, and the “curve” on a graph will flatten out. This is especially important for our healthcare system. There are only so many hospital beds, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals, so the less burden we can put on the system, the better the care for those who truly need it. Again, if you are experiencing symptoms, call your provider before going in. Read more about “flattening the curve” and why it’s so important by clicking here.
Adjusting to the Disruption
There is no doubt that this crisis is disrupting all our lives. For many, work will be from home or closed all together; students will be learning remotely; and tourist destinations and social gathering places are closed. This disruption will have a tremendous effect on our economy and the service industry will be hit particularly hard. Our small businesses are the backbone of our local economy and many are staying open to the extent they can, for takeout and delivery purposes, for example. If and when possible, please continue supporting these businesses; order a meal to-go, buy a gift card to be used at a later date, and please be sure to tip (generously) if you can. And, of course, when life goes back to normal, please return to these businesses in full force!
Local senior centers have also been closed, but are still preparing meals for those who need them. The centers will be offering take-out lunches by reservation only; please call your senior center for meals and questions. Seniors who need any type of assistance are encouraged to call 2-1-1.
School Meals Available
As school closures became imminent, ensuring that students continue having access to nutritious meals was of utmost importance. Broome-Tioga BOCES Food Services and our local school districts were preparing for this eventuality and have devised a strategy to make sure all students are fed. Below is a list of Broome and Tioga County meal pick up sites for this week; many local restaurants have stepped up on their own to offer free meals to students throughout the community.
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There are also a number of online resources available for free that can assist adults who are trying to create an at-home learning environment. Here are a few:
Guidance from NYS Education Department
Education Companies Offering Free Subscriptions Due to School Closings
High-quality Sites and Apps That Are Supporting School Closures with Free Resources
Resources for Teaching Online Due to School Closures