This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (round gold objects) emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. SARS-CoV-2, also known as 2019-nCoV, is the virus that causes COVID-19. The virus shown was isolated from a patient in the U.S. Credit: NIAID-RML

Eighty-three people who may have been exposed to the deadly coronavirus following recent travel to China are being monitored in self-quarantine in Nassau County, health officials said Wednesday.

The news came on the same day that California health officials announced it may have the first case of coronavirus contracted in the United States and President Donald Trump tapped Vice President Michael Pence to lead the nation’s response to the outbreak.  

“There are no cases confirmed in Nassau County,” Nassau County Health Commissioner Dr. Lawrence E. Eisenstein told reporters. “So far our residents have done very well. And there are no cases. We’re going to hope to keep it that way and certainly we’re going to take whatever actions we have to to keep our residents safe.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has warned the public to prepare for the likelihood of the virus impacting daily life. There have been 60 cases confirmed in the U.S. to date. Suffolk County has 29 people it’s monitoring and Nassau reports six people who were tested were found to be negative.

While there is currently no vaccine for the novel coronavirus, there are preventative actions that can help stop the spread of the virus and other respiratory viruses. 

Officials are urging people to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Additionally, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; avoid close contact with people who are sick; stay home when you’re sick; cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash; clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. 

Individuals who are experiencing symptoms and may have traveled to areas of concern or have been in contact with somebody who has traveled to these areas should call ahead to their healthcare provider before presenting for treatment. 

Additionally, the department has a dedicated website which was created as a resource with updated information for New Yorkers.

-With QNS

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Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.