Basic precautions such as washing hands are at the top of local officials' list in advising the public how to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, including the novel coronavirus.

As of Monday there are no “confirmed cases” of the novel coronavirus in Union County, the health officials said.

In a statement, the Westfield Regional Health Department offered the following advice to the public to help combat the novel coronavirus and other reparatory illnesses:

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  • 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
  • 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.

Additionally, you should consider the following actions, the health department said:

  • Stocking up on a two-week supply of food and water
  • Periodically check your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home
  • Have non-prescription drugs and other health supplies on hand including pain relievers/fever reducing medications, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, vitamins and tissues
  • Stock up on household supplies such as toilet paper, hand soap, paper towels, garbage bags, cleaning supplies, etc.
  • Get copies and maintain electronic versions of health records from doctors, hospitals pharmacies and other sources and store them for personal reference
  • Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick, or what would be needed for them in your home
  • Have pet foods and supplies
  • Stock up on baby care items
  • Plan for extended school and day care closures
  • Talk to your employer about telecommuting opportunities in the event that movement of people is restricted
  • Plan for a sick room in the home. Designate one room that would work best, usually a bedroom with its own bathroom that no one else will use.
  • If someone in the home becomes ill, keep them in the sick room away from others.

What are local health officials doing?

  • Participating in NJDOH and CDC information and guidance conference calls and webinars
  • Maintaining daily contact with State Epidemiologists on the changing situation
  • Conducting collaborative meetings with the other public health agencies from the surrounding area
  • Reviewing applicable emergency plans and procedures, including the Department’s Pandemic Plan
  • Communicating with local schools and health care providers to provide updated guidance

“Please be assured that if and when this situation rises to the level that warrants additional proactive preparedness, response or mitigation actions, the WRHD will act in accordance with our plans and take the appropriate actions,” the local health department stated.

Members of the public are encouraged to call the NJ COVID-19 Hotline at 1-800-222-1222 if they have general questions about novel coronavirus.

Where can you find more information on the novel coronavirus?

The CDC are providing live updates to their page which can be found at cdc.gov/coronavirus.

New Jersey specific information can also be found at https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/ncov.shtml

Additional information can also be found at the Westfield Regional Health Department’s webpage at www.westfieldnj.gov/health.