NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The message that’s being emphasized about coronavirus is do not panic.
Officials across the Tri-State Area are urging residents to remain focused and vigilant.
There are no confirmed cases in the Tri-State Area, but the chance for an outbreak is not being taken lightly.
The group meets regularly to discuss updated information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and fine tune a protocol should the virus end up in New Jersey.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont says they’ve been planning for some time. The state’s public health commissioner is in Washington, D.C. right now meeting with health officials.
Last Friday, Connecticut’s Department of Education sent an email to all school superintendents and principals with guidelines about workplace preparedness and pandemic planning.
In Westchester, eight people who may have been exposed are under voluntary quarantine in their homes. The county executive says his staff is preparing for a possible “worst case scenario.”
George Latimer says possible contingency actions could impact summer events, including festivals, public pools and golf courses.
On Long Island, Nassau County has 1,000 volunteer medical experts, nurses, doctors and health professionals ready who are trained and drilled year-round.
“Our team is ready for anything,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said.
For weeks, the county health department has been screening residents returning from China, and in 175 cases, they recommended voluntary short-term isolation.
There are currently 83 Nassau County residents in isolation at their homes. Five suspected cases tested negative and one Nassau case awaits results.
The county says they’re waiting for guidance from the CDC concerning emergency plans regarding public places like malls, schools and mass transit, should it come to that.
“To speculate exactly what steps we might need to take, we don’t know exactly how many cases are going to come but we do have plans in place,” Nassau Health Commissioner Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein said.
What is known — hospital rooms can be converted into isolation rooms if needed. At Mount Sinai South Nassau, many are equipped with double doors and negative air pressure to keep germs from spreading.
Supplies are stockpiled.
“We’ve been preparing for this for decades. This one is novel, this year. We had ebola a few years ago. We had H1N1,” said Dr. Adhi Sharma, chief medical officer at Mount Sinai South Nassau.
Suffolk County is monitoring 29 people. Its largest hospital is asking those with symptoms to wear masks before showing up.
“Making sure that we have an adequate supply of masks, not just for the patients but for the care providers,” said Dr. Sharon Nachman, chief of division of pediatric infectious diseases at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital. “IVs and fluid is always available at the hospital and there’s more than adequate supplies.”
In the meantime, experts say practice safe infection control like you normally would during flu season.
“The incidence of coronavirus in the U.S. is not at a level where we need to be worried that somebody sitting next to us on the bus coughing has coronavirus. We’re not there,” Sharma said.
Again, while people are being monitored, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in our area.