Taking on the coronavirus on your own terms

Published: Mar. 4, 2020 at 6:53 PM EST
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Fears of the coronavirus have cleared store shelves around the region of hand sanitizers, wipes and masks. Our Kelly O'Brien has a DIY approach to tackling virus prevention on your own terms.

"It just seem unlikely that we will avoid having this in our community," said Dr. Wouter Rietsema, an Infectious disease specialist in Plattsburgh. He and other health officials in the area are ready to fight the coronavirus if it makes its way north. "We have plans for those eventualities."

As more and more positive cases surface, shortages come with it -- things like masks and hand sanitizers. Rietsema says that has to do with production stoppage in China. "We -- being the whole health care system in this U.S. -- rely a lot on China," he said.

When it comes to hand sanitizer, something people probably would want to have to stay safe, a recipe online to make your own is pretty simple. The recipe calls for 2/3 cup rubbing alcohol and 1/3 cup aloe vera, mix it up and there you have it. But health officials say you don't even need to through that much trouble.

"Go back to your soap and water and then hopefully there will be enough hand sanitizer out there for those people who are in situations where they can't wash their hands," said Karen Derusha with the Clinton County Health Department.

Those monitoring the virus believe it's a "droplet" spread -- meaning it's likely spread through coughing and sneezing. They say to protect yourself -- as you would any virus -- wash your hands, drink fluids and most importantly, stay home. The CDC suggests a 14-day quarantine if you are showing symptoms.

They also say to make sure that you have enough food and water to last you, whether it's canned goods or frozen foods. You also want to make sure you have any medication or toiletries you might need over the two-week span. Some items to keep you entertained are also a plus.

Health officials urge anyone who thinks they might have the virus or is showing symptoms to not just show up to your doctor or the hospital. Call first so that way they can take the steps necessary to make sure that everyone is safe.

Members of the Clinton County Health Department are holding a meeting about COVID-19 Wednesday.

Coronavirus isn't in Plattsburgh, but health experts are letting everyone know the latest updates.