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Be aware and be healthy

When Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp confirmed there were two cases of COVID-19, otherwise known as coronavirus disease 2019, it hit a little close to home.

The first confirmed cases of the virus in Georgia came from a couple from Fulton County who had just returned from Italy. They are from the same household, and they have been ordered to stay home.

However, the recent news throughout the county has heightened the awareness of a few people, as well as those in the medical community.

Dr. Kenneth Horlander, a pulmonologist at Emory Healthcare, said unless patients have traveled to certain areas like Italy, China or South Korea, or have contacted somebody who has traveled to those places with contributing symptoms, they are probably fine. Those symptoms include fever, shortness of breath and a cough.

“Right now, it seems like everybody has a cough,” Horlander said. “There are a lot of allergies and basic cold viruses going around. People are used to it, but we also have people who are asking questions.”

He said those in the medical field are staying up to date with the American Medical Association and the Center for Disease Control.

In the meantime, the state public health department recommends the following best practices:

  • Washing hands often with soap and warm water for at least twenty seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
  • Stay home when sick;
  • Cover a cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash; and
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.