IRVINGTON, NJ – As the outbreak of COVID-19, or the coronavirus, continues to cripple the United States, New Jersey has decided to close all schools, implementing an 8 p.m. curfew for all residents and businesses, in an attempt to contain the virus. Irvington Mayor Tony Vauss has decided to address residents both in print and on video.
“I have a special public service announcement about the coronavirus that’s devastating our country, our state and our entire community,” stated Vauss in a video sent to the Irvington Herald on March 13. “Today, we have some tips on how we can keep each other safe. I have my director of the Health Department, Sonya White, and our health officer, Chris Hellwig, coming to explain what you can do, each and every day, to make sure that you keep your family safe, your loved ones and our entire community.”
Hellwig also offers some insight into the coronavirus on the video, explaining it was discovered in Wuhan, China, in December 2019 and is a new virus of an existing family, known as the novel coronavirus.
“Right now, those who are most at risk are those who have traveled internationally, specifically to China, Japan, South Korea, Iran or Italy,” he explains in the video. “There are definitely ways that you and your loved ones can stay protected throughout this flu season and from coronaviruses, by taking appropriate health behaviors and appropriate health actions.”
Hellwig said there are symptoms to look out for when contracting coronavirus, including fever, breathing difficulties and cough, and some people will develop severe, respiratory issues and may pass away from the disease.
“What we’ve seen in China and throughout the world is about 80 percent of those who are infected with the COVID-19 virus have mild symptoms and don’t require hospitalizations,” Hellwig said. “Eighty percent of those who are infected with the virus do have mild symptoms and live to recover and have normal, day-to-day life. But there are some people who will develop severe, respiratory issues and may pass away from the disease.”
Those who are most at risk are people aged 62 and older or those who have underlying health problems such as respiratory issues, diabetes and heart issues. It’s also important to avoid any unnecessary travel, both internationally and domestically, avoid large crowds by practicing social distancing, and avoid people who are already sick.
“We recommend that you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds while singing your favorite nursery rhyme,” White said in the video sent to the Irvington Herald. “If soap and warm water is not available, we do recommend using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. So, in the event that you need the urge to cough or sneeze, we would recommend that you kindly just cough or sneeze in your elbow, use a tissue and make sure that you dispose of that tissue after you’ve used it.”
Another thing Irvington residents must remember is how imperative it is to stay home when sick.
Hellwig said the Irvington Health Department is doing everything it can to contain the virus and protect residents from the virus.
“I just want you to know that the township of Irvington is taking this disease seriously,” Hellwig said in the video. “We’re working together throughout the day and throughout the weeks to come to protect you, the residents, from the coronavirus.”