Bello: Flu a bigger threat than coronavirus, 1 person quarantined locally

Coronavirus

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — While the normal coronavirus is a daily headline topic, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello says it’s not as much of a threat as influenza is locally.

“Coronavirus is a concern because it is new, but influenza remains a more serious threat to public health,” Bello said.

At a press conference Tuesday at the Monroe County Office Building in Rochester, Bello was joined by County Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza, and Airport Director Andrew Moore to discuss new travel restrictions related coronavirus and to offer updates on recent flu reports.

An Monroe County flu report released Monday showed that there’s been nearly 2,400 confirmed cases of influenza locally, with four fatalities.

One of the flu-related deaths was a child, announced back in October. Since then, three more people have died. According to officials, two of the deaths were people who were between the ages of 75 and 84. The other death was someone who was older than 85 years old.

Officials say the best way to prevent the spread of the flu is to simply get your shot.

Regarding the coronavirus, one person locally is under voluntary quarantine in their home after traveling back from mainland China within the past two weeks. They will be monitored under the voluntary quarantine for the next 14 days.

“Beyond 14 days they are essentially cleared,” Dr. Mendoza said.

Dr. Mendoza cited the 14-day window as a reference from the CDC guidelines, and the County Health Commissioner added that the person has been cooperative as they went into the voluntary quarantine.

“This is a very cooperative individual ,” Dr. Mendoza said. “We’re contacting that person everyday confirming that that person has no symptoms and we’ll be doing that everyday for a 14 day period.”

Although the quarantined individual does not have a confirmed case of novel coronavirus, officials have taken extra precaution by using technological ways of knowing where the person is.

“The coronavirus is little bit more contagious than flu, a bit less contagious than the common cold, and far less contagious than Chickenpox,” Dr. Mendoza said.

Still, officials maintain the threat of coronavirus locally remains low.

“I want to emphasize that while I know there is a lot of media attention on the virus, the risk for contracting the disease is low,” Bello said.

Dr. Mendoza said the novel coronavirus is a new strain and that there is no vaccine, no specific medical treatment, and no person has immunity to it.

To help local residents get answers regarding the 2019 normal coronavirus, the county has set up a public hotline. That number is 888-363-3065 and folks are encouraged to call that number with any questions about travel restrictions or anything else regarding the coronavirus.

The United States has declared a public health emergency because of the virus that hit China and has spread to other nations.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar also announced that President Donald Trump will temporarily bar entry to the U.S. of foreign nationals believed to be a risk of transmitting the virus. The new restrictions began Sunday.

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