Local health officials and schools are prepared for COVID-19

Staff at Winters HealthCare and in Winters JUSD are taking steps to be prepared, and to prevent spread of respiratory diseases.
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By Crystal Apilado and Rodney Orosco Express Staff

As the area grapples with the reality that the the first “native” COVID-19 case in the United States occurred in Solano County, local health officials have a clear message for the public: Stay calm and wash your hands.

Officials reported that a Vacaville woman has been confirmed to have COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, but she has had no obvious exposure to the disease, such as traveling in infected areas. That makes it likely she was exposed by someone else in the community.

“We are not panicking here,” Winters HealthCare Executive Director Chris Kelsch said. “We are just going over our [health] protocols and making sure our front staff knows our infection protocols.”

Staff have also been issued N95 masks. The CDC recommends the use of N-95 masks to prevent the inhalation of infectious particles.

Kelsch’s calm is echoed at the county level. “There continues to be no community spread of the virus within Yolo County,” a Yolo County Health and Human Services alert said. “The immediate risk to individuals in Yolo County remains low.”

If a case is suspected at Winters HealthCare, the staff is ready, Kelsch said.

Kelsch explained staff is trained to take any suspected COVID-19 cases out of the building and around to a dedicated isolation room.

The room was its own air filtration system that prevents any air from escaping into the surrounding atmosphere.

Winters Joint Unified School District Superintendent Todd Cutler said their teams have been working to be prepared and are taking actions of prevention at school sites.

“At Winters JUSD the health and safety of our staff and students is always a priority. We understand that with the news of the Coronavirus there is a heightened level of concern. I want to assure everyone that our staff is staying informed of the most up-to-date information available,” Cutler wrote in a press release.

Cutler told the Express he is staying in contact with the Yolo County Health, Yolo County Office of Education, and other school districts, to closely monitor the situation and to establish protocols. He said Winters JUSD administrators and staff are making daily efforts to create a healthy school environment for everyone.

Precautions to stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like COVID-19 include:

  • Wash hands with liquid soap and water and rub for at least 20-30 seconds.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Stay home if you or a family member are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Individuals with chronic health issues and/or individuals experiencing severe symptoms should be evaluated by a medical professional.

For the latest updates, visit the CDC website at cdc.gov/COVID19 and Yolo County website https://www.yolocounty.org/health-human-services/adults/communicable-disease-investigation-and-control/coronavirus.

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