MARY MEAUX — Coronavirus talk is our new normal

Published 12:08 am Thursday, March 19, 2020

Remember not so long ago when the store shelves were filled, toilet paper was abundant and the thoughts of coronavirus was, for some, an illness that happens elsewhere to other people?

My, have we come a long way in a short amount of time.

On Tuesday, media learned two people were tested who were negative for the flu and their samples were sent to be the checked for COVID-19.

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By Wednesday afternoon the Beaumont Public Health Department confirmed the first Beaumont resident tested positive for the disease. The person is quarantined and for confidentiality purposes, the health department is not releasing information to identify the person.

The BPHD is performing a epidemiological investigation and working to quickly identify close contacts to this person. They may include family, friends, co-workers and other potential contacts.

But knowledge is power and we’ve been bombarded with tips to keep protected.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home if you are sick.
    • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash. If tissues are not available, cough and sneeze into your elbow. Do not cough and sneeze into your hands.
    • Frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
    • Get a flu shot. The flu vaccine does not offer protection against COVID-19, but it is also flu season.

Call your healthcare provider if you are experiencing fever, cough or shortness of breath and are concerned you have come in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient or have a history of travel from affected geographic areas within 14 days of symptom onset.
It is important that you call first so they can evaluate your risk and determine if they need to see you in person so that other patients are not potentially put at risk.
Roughly 80 percent of those who fall ill with COVID-19 will experience mild symptoms similar to those of the flu and will recover without needing any hospitalization. Those who are at a higher risk for COVID-19 and developing complications include older adults and those with underlying health conditions including diabetes, heart disease and lung disease.

And, on another note, please don’t hoard. Leave some groceries or supplies on the shelf for the next person. I’ve heard tales of people grabbing up every container of baby formula as a father roamed the store looking for two containers for his 8-month–old son. Luckily he was able to convince a man with almost a dozen cans to allow him a chance to buy two of them.

Think of others, don’t panic and above all, be kind. We’re all in this together.

Mary Meaux is a reporter with The Port Arthur News. She can be reached at