BUFFALO, N.Y. — There have not been any confirmed cases of the coronavirus here in Western New York. But with the first case in our state, 2 On Your Side reached out to you to see what your concerns are, because we want to present facts not fear.
One of the questions you asked 2 On Your Side on Monday is: under what circumstances would schools close because of the coronavirus?
So we reached out to the State Department of Education.
A spokesperson said, "In conjunction with the State Department of Health, NYSED is closely monitoring the Novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19, guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We will work with the NYS Department of Health to develop updated guidance for schools, which reflects the latest CDC recommendations and continue to update this guidance as the situation warrants."
So it's not exactly answering the question, which is why 2 On Your Side also checked to see what local districts have been doing to be proactive.
West Seneca Central and Buffalo Public Schools posted information about the coronavirus on their home pages. Amherst Central School District sent an email to parents Monday afternoon.
Each district says it's monitoring the situation with county and state health officials, and would consult with those agencies about closing if a student gets the virus.
That's also the message from local hospitals.
Again, while there have been no cases of the coronavirus in Western New York, if one were to arise, the staff at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center says they're prepared and will get help from the New York State Department of health.
"They're going to let us know exactly the next steps that we need to partake in whether it's testing, patient isolation anywhere testing needs to go on," said Heather Domanski, an emergency services clinical coordinator at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.
She says if someone comes to the hospital with the virus, the staff would isolate the patient in a negative pressure room. But the hospital has been screening patients who travel outside the country for infectious diseases since 2014 and hasn't seen any signs of the coronavirus.
In the meantime, doctors do not recommend anyone trying to take precautions from the virus use N95 masks because they are for people who are already sick. Doctors say they won't even work unless they're fitted by someone who's qualified to do so.
Officials from Niagara Falls Memorial, ECMC and Catholic Health all say they have enough inventory of those masks.
The NFTA issued this statement for passengers traveling in and out of the Buffalo Niagara International Airport airport. The NFTA is closely and seriously monitoring the COVID-19 situation and taking the lead and direction from federal, state and local health agencies. Given our vital role in the Western New York community, as a transportation authority, we have proper protocols in place for any emergency scenario and are ready to put those in place at any time.