COVID-19 in Lower Merion

A rendering of the virus that causes COVID-19. Image: CDC

The novel strain of coronavirus, COVID-19, is in Lower Merion Township. Naturally, this leads to many questions for township residents. What happens if I get it? How do I keep myself from getting it? Do I need to stock up on supplies? Harriton-TV has the answers and is keeping a watchful eye on the virus’s spread in the community.

Is COVID-19 really that bad?

It can range from patient to patient. “Coronavirus” is a general term; even the Common Cold can be a form of coronavirus. However, this form of the disease displays much stronger and can come with more intense symptoms, similar to the Flu. Although COVID-19 may only make you feel nasty and sick, the disease is reported to have a mortality rate of around 3.4% according to the WHO. This is significantly higher than that of the Flu. If you are immunocompromised or have respiratory issues, the disease can be even more serious.

How can I prevent myself from getting COVID-19? 

The CDC is strictly advising people to wash their hands. Washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds is what is being advised specifically. Hand sanitizer can also helpful but is not as effective as hand washing. The CDC and other agencies are also recommending the practice of social distancing. This means avoiding crowds and crowded spaces and trying to stay more than six feet away from others. Additionally, air travel is not recommended.

How do I know if I have COVID-19? What happens if I do? 

COVID-19 symptoms include fever, shortness of breath, and intense coughing. Before you jump to conclusions, though, consider the following:

  • Have you traveled outside of the US recently? 
  • Have you been in close contact with individuals recently? 

If you do suspect that you have COVID-19, the CDC advises that you take the following actions:

1. Self-Quarantine

This step is crucial to preventing the spread of COVID-19. This is also called “Home isolation,” and it means exactly what it sounds like. Stay away from other individuals including those in your immediate family.

2. Call your healthcare provider

Healthcare providers are following the CDC’s official steps for how to handle COVID-19. Rather than rushing immediately to the doctor’s office, call ahead to describe your symptoms. Your healthcare provider will determine if you should be tested and give you next steps.

What shouldn’t I do? 

Hoarding items such as face masks or hand sanitizer won’t do you much good. Face masks have not been proven to be effective in preventing you from contracting the disease in everyday life. Hospitals are having shortages of these items, so it is best to avoid purchasing them so that health professionals who need them have access.

Sunday 3/15 Update

Thursday afternoon, Governor Tom Wolf shut down all Montgomery County schools for two weeks. This was extended to all Pennsylvania schools on Friday afternoon. Therefore, LMSD is expected to move into remote learning starting Wednesday.

Many businesses are beginning to shut down, as only “essential” shops have been advised to stay open. Grocery stores, banks, and pharmacies, among other businesses, remain open.

The Center for Disease Control advises that people should continue to practice social distancing, actively washing hands, and avoiding touching their faces.

So far, the number of COVID-19 cases in the US has surpassed 3,000, with 63 confirmed cases in PA. Many organizations have cancelled gatherings and conferences, and staying at home is strongly encouraged.

“Flattening the curve” has also become a popular term, which means, if the number of COVID-19 cases over time were to be diagrammed, to visually “flatten the curve” and lower the amount of cases in a given point at the expense of lengthening the amount of time that the COVID-19 pandemic is here.

Harriton TV will continue to cover COVID-19’s impact on Lower Merion and the greater community.

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