Planning effort begun for potential Coronavirus in Ocean Pines

Ocean Pines this week began planning for the potential spread of Coronavirus in Maryland, to protect the public and Ocean Pines employees in case of a local outbreak.  

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday announced there were three confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state, just days after the state’s Public Health Laboratory was approved for testing for the virus.  

“Our highest priority is keeping Marylanders safe, and having the capability to test quickly for potential COVID-19 [Coronavirus] cases is an important part of that,” Hogan said in a release. “We want our citizens to know that all levels of government are working together proactively and taking every possible precaution to respond to threats of public health.” 

Hogan also declared a state of emergency on Thursday, which helps open certain funding channels. 

“In order to further mobilize all available state resources in response to this threat to public health, I have issued a proclamation declaring a state of emergency in Maryland,” Hogan said. “With this declaration, I am officially authorizing and directing the Maryland Department of Health and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency to ramp up coordination among all state and local agencies and enable them to fast-track coordination with our state and local health departments and emergency management teams. 

The Ocean Pines Association has reached out to the Worcester County Health Department and neighboring communities, and is developing action plans to address a potential local spread of CoronavirusAt this time, there are no plans to close public facilities or cancel public meetings.  

The Association will continue to keep the Ocean Pines public informed as this situation develops.  

“We are keeping a close eye on Coronavirus and are taking this very seriously,” General Manager John Viola said. “We want the public and our staff to know we are working on a plan to address the virus if and when it comes to Worcester County. We formed a work group this week and have reached out to our partners at the county and in neighboring communities, and we’ll continue to monitor the situation as it develops, and to plan accordingly.” 

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in humans and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people.” 

The CDC said, The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, including between people who are in close contact with one another, specifically within six feet, or through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People are thought to be contagious when they are the most symptomatic, or the sickest.  

Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath, and generally appear within 2-14 days after exposure. 

There is currently no vaccine to prevent Coronavirus, but the CDC supplied suggested steps for prevention: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. 
  • Stay home when you are sick. 
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. 
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask. 
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to  others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility). 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty. 

For more information from the CDC, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. 

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