For any other questions not covered in these FAQs, call the NYSDOH COVID-19 hotline at (888) 364-3065

THIS IS A RAPIDLY CHANGING SITUATION
INFORMATION CURRENT AS OF 3/26/20 AND SUBJECT TO CHANGE
PLEASE CHECK THE RENSSELAER COUNTY WEBPAGE AND FACEBOOK PAGE FOR UPDATES REGULARLY

Rensselaer County COVID-19 (Corona Virus) Hotline 518-270-0450

Rensselaer County Test Result Information 518-270-2659 M-F; 518-857-4660 after hours

Rensselaer County Department of Social Services: 518-266-7800/518-266-7850

Rensselaer County Department for the Aging: 518-270-2730 9-5 M-F; 518-270-2767 after hours

Rensselear County Mental Health Department: 24 hour hotline: 518-270-2800

NYS Department of Labor (518) 457-9000

NYS Attorney General’s office (212) 416-8700

Rensselaer County COVID-19 (Corona Virus) email: Coronainfo@rensco.com

FAQs

How many cases of COVID-19 (“Corona Virus”) are there?

On March 11, 2020 The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 (Corona Virus) a pandemic. The number of cases changes on daily basis. The most up-to-date information about the number of COVID-19 cases reported in Rensselaer County and where these cases are can be found on the Rensselaer County Facebook page. Also check The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and for a current COVID-19 case count in NYS, visit NYSDOH COVID-19 Information.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

COVID-19 can cause mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Preliminary information suggests older adults and people with underlying health conditions or  

compromised immune systems may be at higher risk of severe illness from this virus. CDC believes that symptoms of COVID-19 begins between 2 and 14 days after exposure.

Can COVID-19 be prevented?

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to prevent exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of any respiratory viruses

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Stay home when you are sick.

• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash can and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

• Get a flu shot for yourself and your family members. This will not prevent COVID-19 but it will prevent you from getting flu, keeping you healthy and out of the hospital.

Can COVID-19 be treated?

There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19 and there is currently no vaccine. People infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment in a hospital might be required. Call your healthcare provider to find out more about what care and treatment is available to you.

Do I need to stockpile groceries or medications?

It is important to have a supply of medications and non-perishable groceries on hand in case of local community transmission of COVID-19. If you are concerned about a specific medication, please call your doctor and ask about supply, and ask about how frequently medications can be renewed based on your insurance policy. You can visit CDC COVID-19 High-Risk-Groups or the NYSDOH Preparing for COVID-19 webpages for more information.

What does quarantine mean?

In NYS, there are two types of quarantine related to COVID-19.

1) ‘Mandatory Quarantine’ is required and directed by the local health department by a quarantine order. This is required for the following persons:

Persons who tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 by a clinical test (regardless if they are symptomatic or not).

Persons who had direct contact (within 6 feet) with a confirmed case who tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 (regardless if they are sick or not).

Persons who traveled to a highly affected area, and have symptoms of fever, cough, and trouble breathing. NYS considers any county that has a CDC-designated travel warning level of ‘3’ (avoid nonessential travel) and level ‘2’ (practice enhanced precautions) as countries that are highly affected by COVID-19.

Any other person whose healthcare provider and local health department believe should be quarantined.

2) ‘Precautionary Quarantine’ is required and directed by the local health department. This is required for the following persons

Travel to a highly affected area and are not sick. NYS considers any county that has a CDC-designated travel warning level of ‘3’ (avoid nonessential travel) and level ‘2’ (practice enhanced precautions) as countries that are highly affected by COVID-19.

‘Proximate exposure’ to a confirmed case who tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 in a congregate setting (e.g., within more than 6 feet such as at social gatherings, conferences, etc.), and not sick. If this person develops symptoms of fever cough, and difficulty breathing, they will be placed under Mandatory Quarantine.

Any other person whose healthcare provider and local health department believe should be quarantined.

Can I get tested for COVID-19?

Yes, the NYS Novel Coronavirus Hotline is taking requests for testing for those that meet the criteria below. Please call 1-888-364-3065 for more information.

On March 6th, Governor Cuomo announced 5 criteria for testing in NYS:

Persons that had close contact (within 6 feet) of a known case of COVID-19.

Persons who have travelled to a country with a CDC-designated level 3 travel health warning for COVID-19 or who meet CDC Level 2 high-risk traveler criteria (older adults and people of any age with serious chronic medical conditions) and have symptoms of fever, cough, and trouble breathing.

Persons who are under quarantine as directed by the local health department, and have symptoms of fever, cough, and trouble breathing.

Persons who are ill with fever AND respiratory illness (e.g., pneumonia, ARDS) and without alternative explanatory diagnosis (e.g., influenza, legionella, streptococcal pneumonia, fungal infections) and patient also has negative results on a molecular respiratory viral panel.

Persons whose healthcare provider, local health department and NYS Department of Health agree that testing is required (with or without a recent travel history).

The most current information about COVID-19 testing can be found here: NYSDOH COVID-19 Interim Testing Guidance.

Is there a commercial test kit for COVID-19 that I can buy at the store to test myself?

There are no commercially available COVID-19 test kits available for the public to purchase. Clinical testing must be authorized by your doctor or the local health department in the county where you live.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

NYSDOH COVID-19 Hotline: For any other questions not covered in these FAQs, call the NYSDOH COVID-19 hotline at (888) 364-3065.

Rensselaer County COVID-19 Contact Information: Call 518-270-0450

Rensselaer County Test Result Information: Call 518-270-2659 M-F; 518-857-4660 after hours

Does CDC recommend the use of facemask to prevent COVID-19?

CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. You should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it. A facemask should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected.

Can someone who has had COVID-19 spread the illness to others?

The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person. Someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others. That is why CDC recommends that these patients be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on how sick they are) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others.

Current CDC guidance for when it is OK to release someone from isolation is made on a case by case basis and includes meeting all of the following requirements:

The patient is free from fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.

The patient is no longer showing symptoms, including cough.

The patient has tested negative on at least two consecutive respiratory specimens collected at least 24 hours apart.

Someone who has been released from isolation is not considered to pose a risk of infection to others.

Can the virus that causes COVID-19 be spread through food, including refrigerated or frozen food?

Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. Before preparing or eating food it is important to always wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds for general food safety. Throughout the day wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, or going to the bathroom.

In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of  

spread from food products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at room temperature, refrigerated, or frozen temperatures.

What temperature kills the virus that causes COVID-19?

Generally coronaviruses survive for shorter periods of time at higher temperatures and higher humidity than in cooler or dryer environments. However, we don’t have direct data for this virus, nor do we have direct data for a temperature-based cutoff for inactivation at this point. The necessary temperature would also be based on the materials of the surface, the environment, etc. Regardless of temperature please follow CDC’s guidance for cleaning and disinfection.

Who is at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19?

Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19. These people who may be at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness, includes:

Older adults

People who have serious underlying medical conditions like:

Heart disease

Diabetes

Lung disease

Should I use soap and water or a hand sanitizer to protect against COVID-19?

Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Am I at risk for COVID-19 from a package or products shipping from China?

In general, because of poor survivability of coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient

temperatures. Coronaviruses are spread most often by respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods and there have not been any cases of COVID-19 in the United States associated with imported goods.

What should people at higher risk of serious illness with COVID-19 do?

If you are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, you should: stock up on supplies; take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others; when you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick; limit close contact and wash your hands often; and avoid crowds, cruise travel, and non-essential travel including public transportation. If there is an outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible. Watch for symptoms and emergency signs. If you get sick, stay home and call your doctor.

Are pregnant women more at risk for COVID-19?

Currently, there is not much research on the susceptibility of pregnant women to COVID-19. Pregnant women are more susceptible to viral infections because of immunologic and physiologic changes and may be more susceptible to COVID-19 too. Access this link for more information: CDC COVID-19 Pregnant Women Guidance.

Breastfeeding mothers and COVID-19

It is not currently known if COVID-19 is transmitted from breastfeeding mothers to their children. See CDC COVID-19 Interim Guidance for Breastfeeding Women for more information.

What is the risk of my child becoming sick with COVID-19?

Based on available evidence, children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults. While some children and infants have been sick with COVID-19, adults make up most of the known cases to date.

How can I protect my child from COVID-19 infection?

You can encourage your child to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by teaching them to do the same things everyone should do to stay healthy.

Clean hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer

Avoid people who are sick (coughing and sneezing)

Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas (e.g. tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, sinks)

Launder items including washable plush toys as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.

What steps can my family take to reduce our risk of getting COVID-19?

Practice everyday preventive actions to help reduce your risk of getting sick and remind everyone in your home to do the same. These actions are especially important for older adults and people who have severe chronic medical conditions:

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw the tissue in the trash.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.

If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects
(e.g., tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles).

What should I do if someone in my house gets sick with COVID-19?

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include, but not limited to:

Trouble breathing

Persistent pain or pressure in the chest

New confusion or inability to arouse, Bluish lips or face

What cleaning products should I use to protect against COVID-19?

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. Using one cap of bleach to a gallon of water will disinfect surfaces. Use a rag or spray bottle. If storing in clear bottle you must change solution daily. If surfaces are dirty, clean them using detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. To disinfect, most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. See CDC’s recommendations for household cleaning and disinfection.

What are the symptoms and complications that COVID-19 can cause?

Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

Who is at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19?

Based upon available information to date, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 include:

People aged 65 years and older

People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility

Other high-risk conditions could include:

People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma

People who have heart disease with complications

People who are immunocompromised including cancer treatment

People of any age with severe obesity (body mass index [(BM]I)≥40) or certain underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as those with diabetes, renal failure, or liver disease might also be at risk

People who are pregnant should be monitored since they are known to be at risk with severe viral illness, however, to date data on COVID-19 has not shown increased risk

Are people with disabilities at higher risk?

Most people with disabilities are not inherently at higher risk for becoming infected with or having severe illness from COVID-19. People with certain disabilities might experience higher rates of chronic health conditions that put them at higher risk of serious illness and poorer outcomes from COVID-19.

Adults with disabilities are three times more likely to have heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or cancer than adults without disabilities.

Am I at risk if I go to a funeral or visitation service for someone who died of COVID-19?

There is currently no known risk associated with being in the same room at a funeral or visitation service with the body of someone who died of COVID-19.

Can I get/give COVID-19 from my pets or other animals?

There is no reason at this time to think that any animals, including pets, in the United States might be a source of infection with this new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. To date, CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19 in the United States.

In addition, there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread to people from the skin or fur of pets.

While school’s out, can my child hang out with their friends?

The key to slowing the spread of COVID-19 is to limit contact as much as possible. If you have play dates, keep the groups small. Encourage older children to hang out in a small group and to meet outside rather than inside. It’s easier to keep and maintain space between others in outdoor settings.

If you have small meetups, make sure children practice everyday preventive behaviors, such as washing their hands often with soap and water. Remember, if children meet outside of school in bigger groups, it can put everyone at risk.

Revise spring break plans if they included non-essential travel.

Be aware children can still pass this virus onto others who may be at higher risk, including older adults and people who have serious underlying medical conditions. So while school’s out, limit

time with older adults, including relatives, and people with chronic medical conditions.

Rensselaer County Covid-19 Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Call center FAQs

I was tested. How can I get my results?

Call (518) 270-2659 Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm to receive results over the phone. Written copies (available only upon request) will be made available at 3rd floor security from 2 -4 pm, M-F only.

How can I get masks, glove and/or hand sanitizer?

Only available for healthcare agencies/entities (including funeral homes) by request to the Division of Public Safety . Send request to sscecchitano@rensco.com .

Should I wear a mask?

It is more important for a positive patient to wear a mask to prevent spread rather than others with no symptoms.

How can i get involved and help out by volunteering?

Volunteers must be registered members of the medical reserve corps (MRC). Medical background/training not required. Contact sscecchitano@rensco.com for more information.

I have a friend or relative who came into contact with a positive covid-19 patient. Do they and any of their contacts need to be in quarantine?

Persons with direct contact to positive covid-19 individual should self-quarantine for 14 days. Anyone in contact with that person is considered a secondary exposure.

What do I do if I feel sick?

Symptoms of coronavirus are—dry cough, fever of 100.4+, shortness of breath, aches/pains/fatigue. (Less common symptoms are nausea and vomiting). Call your doctor. Do not go to an ER or urgent care facility. Public testing is currently unavailable but if your symptoms become severe, you doctor can still order a test for you at Albany med or Albany Memorial Hospital.

What is Telemedicine and how do I know if I can use it?

Those with CDPHP, MVP, United Healthcare and Blue Shield can take advantage of telemedicine options through their website or phone apps.

Where do I call to complain if I feel my employer is unfairly insisting that I report to work? I’m not sure if I don’t think I’m an essential employer.

Contact the attorney general’s office (212) 416-8700.

Who do i complain to if i feel my employer is not honoring the 0% employee capacity limitation (except for essential workers)?

Contact the NYS department of labor (518) 457-9000.

I work in healthcare and am in voluntary quarantine awaiting test results due to being possibly exposed to a positive patient. Can my employer/supervisor insist i return to work?

Healthcare workers under quarantine awaiting test results can return to work after 7 days as long as they are asymptomatic. They must wear a mask, check their temperatures at beginning of shift and halfway through and be assigned to patients with the least risk.

Should physical therapy patients still go in for physical therapy?

Physical therapy is now being considered an essential service.

Can I still move in, as scheduled, to a new apartment?

Previously scheduled moves are fine.

Are we required to continue showing apartments or houses to prospective renters or buyers?

The continued showing of apartments and homes is not considered an essential service.

Where do i report a restaurant or other food service establishment who’s not abiding by the “no seated dining” rule?

We will notify our environmental/food permit unit and they will investigate and respond to any potential violations.