Our view: Public plays biggest role in preventing spread of COVID-19

Our view: Public plays biggest role in preventing spread of COVID-19


Kathleen Cuddy, director of the Cayuga County Health Department, announces the first case of coronavirus in Cayuga County during a press conference in Auburn March 18.

As the Cayuga County Health Department continues to keep people updated on the spread of the novel coronavirus, members of the public need to understand that they shouldn't expect to hear every little detail — and they shouldn't expect the county to single-handedly solve the problem.

Health department officials have had a lot on their plate lately trying to keep pace with an emergency that seemingly changes by the minute. Following state Department of Health guidelines, anyone who has been tested for COVID-19 is being asked to self-isolate until their tests results come back. There is a mandatory quarantine for people who test positive and for anyone known to have had direct contact with them.

With every confirmed case, an effort is being made to trace the person's movements to determine who they may have had contact with so that those people can be alerted. Additionally, county officials have said that if there is a major public event or a particular location connected with a positive case, they will notify the public.

At the same time, the health department points out that there are laws in place to protect the health information of individuals, so it is striving to balance some level of privacy while revealing as much information as possible about confirmed cases in an effort to protect public health.

We understand that people are anxious about the possibility of large numbers of people becoming infected in their towns and neighborhoods. But the best way to react to those concerns is to follow the guidelines regarding staying at home and keeping a distance from others if there is a need to be out in public.

County officials will continue to keep everyone up to date about the spread of this virus, but the health department can't tackle the problem on its own, because the public itself is going to play a huge role in how this turns out. The most important action everyone can take is to monitor themselves and their family for symptoms, practice social distancing and follow the state's directive to stay home so that you limit your potential exposure to COVID-19.

The Citizen editorial board includes publisher Michelle Bowers, executive editor Jeremy Boyer and managing editor Mike Dowd.


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