COVID-19: LOCAL NEWS

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I think I have coronavirus. What do I do? For starters, stay home.

By David Mclellan | March 16, 2020
LYNN — Stay home. 

That’s the No. 1 piece of advice health and city officials have for people who get sick right now. 

If a fever, cough, respiratory distress, or any other symptoms of illness arise — especially those similar to symptoms of influenza — stay home. 
Because of the pandemic of COVID-19, a strain of coronavirus that has been deemed a public health emergency at international, national, and state levels, Lynn Community Health Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Geoff Pechinsky suggests people who get sick call a doctor from their home before showing up to any hospital or doctor’s office.

There is no known cure for the coronavirus, which is spreadable between people and has infected more than 100 in Massachusetts. 

That means truly staying at home, according to Pechinsky, not just missing work or school, but not going to stores, restaurants, or getting in taxis or using public transportation.

“Social distancing,” staying at least six feet away from others, is also recommended. 

People should not panic if they feel sick. There are allergies that come with the changing of seasons, and it is still cold and flu season. People are far more likely to get the flu than contract the coronavirus.

As with any sickness, people recovering from a coronavirus illness should drink plenty of water, rest, and take a fever-reducing medicine if they have a fever. 

To prevent getting sick, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests people frequently and diligently wash their hands for at least 20 seconds — try singing a tune like “Happy Birthday” while washing. 

Most importantly, and to prevent community spread, people who have traveled recently, especially from China, Iran, South Korea, Italy, and other European countries, should self-quarantine at home for at least 14 days. 

According to Lynn Mayor Thomas McGee, those who should be particularly careful to avoid illness are the elderly and people with pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes or heart disease. 

As of Friday, Lynn had nine residents under self-quarantine who were not symptomatic, but had either recently traveled or possibly come in contact with someone infected, according to the city’s Public Health Department. These people are taking their temperatures and reporting them twice a day. No one had been confirmed to have the coronavirus in the city as of Friday. 

According to Pechinsky, it is possible that the disease is most contagious when people are most symptomatic — with symptoms arising usually between two and 14 days after exposure — but much remains unknown about the coronavirus and its illness.

One frustration among city officials, including McGee, has been the lack of expedient testing for the coronavirus. State-level authorities must approve any coronavirus test, elongated the process, McGee said.