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COVID-19 (new coronavirus) Rumor Control

If you heard a rumor or have a question about something you heard or read, email it to Brian Gleason at Brian.Gleason@CharlotteCountyFL.gov.


Adult Day Care Centers

Rumor: Adult day care centers are closing.
Adult daycare centers in Charlotte County may be closing on an individual basis voluntarily—contact your center for updates.


Age

People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus. Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.

The World Health Organization advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus, for example by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene.


Antibiotics

Rumor: Antibiotics will kill the new coronavirus.
Antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria. The new coronavirus is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment. However, if you are hospitalized for the new coronavirus, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.


Boca Grande Causeway

Rumor: The Boca Grande causeway may be closing to non-residents and non-essential personnel. 
False. The Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority is not closing the bridge/causeway and lacks the authority to do so unless so ordered by the governor. According to the GIBA website, the authority is not accepting cash payments, only GIBA passes and credit cards. For more information , visit GIBA.us.


Businesses

Rumor: All Charlotte County non-essential businesses are to close in 72 hours.
False. As of 5 p.m., March 20, no order has been issued for Charlotte County businesses. Such an order would have to come from the governor.


Chlorine/Alcohol

Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth). Be aware that both alcohol and chlorine can be useful to disinfect surfaces, but they need to be used under appropriate recommendations.

Rumor: Alcohol ban.
False. As of March 29 there is no ban on alchohol in Charlotte County. View the county and city statement on Safer-At-Home practices.


Climate/Weather

Cold weather and snow CANNOT kill the new coronavirus.

The COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, including areas with hot and humid weather and in colder climates.

 

Colleges/Universities

Florida universities are not closing. Many schools are on spring break during March and some extended that break. Online courses are being expanded, but dorms and food service continue to be open. For information about the 12 state universities, visit https://www.flbog.edu/2020/03/15/statement-on-the-status-of-the-state-university-system/

For information about state colleges, including Florida SouthWestern State College and State College of Florida, visit http://www.fldoe.org/em-response/ and scroll down to Florida College System Closures


Curfew

Rumor: Charlotte County has a nighttime curfew in effect.

False. The Charlotte County Commission on March 17 declared a local state of emergency in response to the new Coronavirus outbreak, but it does not include a curfew. A curfew, if enacted, would be widely publicized in the media and on the county's website and social media portals.


Employee Testing

Rumor: Businesses remaining open are required to test their employees for the new coronavirus.

False. Business are not required to test employees. At the moment, there are not enough tests available to test that many people. Secondly, people who have no symptoms, are unlikely to be able to produce enough mucus to be swabbed to conduct the test.


Face masks

The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.

 

Fitness Clubs/Gymnasiums

As of March 20, 2020, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered all gymnasiums and fitness centers in Florida to close. The order does not apply to gymnasiums and fitness centers which are: (i) amenities of hotels which have a capacity of 10 persons or less, (ii) are an amenity of a residential building, (iii) are interior to any fire or police stations or (iv) are located inside any single-occupant office building.


Garlic

Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus.


Hand dryers

Rumor: Hand dryers can kill the new coronavirus
Hand dryers are not effective in killing the new coronavirus. To protect yourself against the new coronavirus, you should frequently clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Dry thoroughly using paper towels or a warm air dryer.


Helicopter Spraying

Rumor: Five helicopters will spray disinfectants into the air to eradicate the Coronavirus.
No spraying of disinfectants from helicopters is occurring in Charlotte County. Mosquito control will continue to spray areas with adulticide for control of mosquitoes as needed.


Lockdown

Rumor: The president ordered a national lockdown.

False, the presidents has not ordered any lockdowns, and definitely not a national one. All people should follow Centers for Disease Control guidance about social distancing, staying home from work if you are sick, avoiding unnecessary travel and hand washing. Visit CDC.gov for more information.


Lifespan of virus

It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment).


Medicine

To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

However, those infected with the virus should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care. Some specific treatments are under investigation, and will be tested through clinical trials. The World Health Organization is helping to accelerate research and development efforts with a range or partners.

 

Mosquitoes

Rumor: Mosquitoes can transmit the new coronavirus.
The new coronavirus CANNOT be transmitted through mosquito bites. The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose.

 

Origin

Rumor: The new coronavirus was made in a lab.
There is a rumor the virus was probably made in a lab. No evidence suggests that the virus is man-made. SARS-CoV-2 closely resembles two other coronaviruses that have triggered outbreaks in recent decades, SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, and all three viruses seem to have originated in bats. In short, the characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 fall in line with what we know about other naturally occurring coronaviruses that made the jump from animals to people.

The new coronavirus has been traced to an outbreak at a live animal market in Wuhan, China in December 2019.

 

Packages

Rumor: The virus can be transmitted on packages shipped from China or elsewhere.
There is a rumor the virus can be transmitted on packages shipped from China or elsewhere. The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.

 

Pets

Rumor: Pets can transmit the new coronavirus.
While there has been one instance of a dog being infected in Hong Kong, to date, there is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit the new coronavirus. COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, is mainly spread through droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently and thoroughly.


Restaurants

Restaurants – As of March 20, 2020, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered all restaurants in Florida to suspend on-premises food consumption for customers. Restaurants are encouraged to remain open and for take-out and delivery services. Additional information will be provided by Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. For information, visit 
http://www.myfloridalicense.com/DBPR

Rumor: You can get the coronavirus if you eat at Chinese restaurants in the U.S.
You can't. By that logic, you'd also have to avoid Italian, Korean, Japanese and Iranian restaurants, given that those countries have also been facing an outbreak. The new coronavirus doesn't just affect people of Chinese descent.

 

Saline nasal spray

Rumor: Saline spray prevent new coronavirus infections.
There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus. There is some limited evidence that regularly rinsing nose with saline can help people recover more quickly from the common cold. However, regularly rinsing the nose has not been shown to prevent respiratory infections.

 

School closures

Charlotte County Public Schools are closed until April 15. For more information about school closures, visit http://www.fldoe.org/em-response/.

 

Thermal scanners

Thermal scanners are effective in detecting people who have developed a fever (i.e. have a higher than normal body temperature) because of infection with the new coronavirus.

However, they cannot detect people who are infected but are not yet sick with fever. This is because it takes between 2 and 10 days before people who are infected become sick and develop a fever.

 

UV lamps

Rumor: UV lamps can sterilize skin
UV lamps should not be used to sterilize hands or other areas of skin as UV radiation can cause skin irritation.

 

Vaccine

Rumor: Vaccines for other viruses protect you from the new coronavirus.
Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus.

The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine. Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine against 2019-nCoV, and the World Health Organization is supporting their efforts.

Although these vaccines are not effective against 2019-nCoV, vaccination against respiratory illnesses is highly recommended to protect your health.

For more questions and answers about the new coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease it causes, visit www.CDC.gov, www.FloridaHealth.gov, https://www.who.int/

Sources: Florida, Florida Department of Health, Florida Board of Governors, Florida Board of Education, World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Water

Is my water safe?

Yes, your tap water is safe. The World Health Organization states that COVID-19 has not been detected in drinking water. Additionally, Charlotte County Utilities follows regulations set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the treatment of public drinking water. Our water treatment process ensures that your drinking water is disinfected and free of any pathogens, including viruses. EPA recommends that Americans continue to use and drink tap water as usual.

Is it transferred through wastewater/sewage?

At this time, the risk of transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 through wastewater is thought to be low. Although transmission of COVID-19 through sewage may be possible, there is no evidence to date that this has occurred.


What is going on at Sears?

The space formerly occupied by Sears in the Port Charlotte Town Center mall is being used by Charlotte County Emergency Management to assist with organizing resources. It is not open for shopping, donations, or dispersing goods.



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