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Keep taking precautions

The news Thursday evening that a Suffolk man had tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, wasn’t shocking.

With the global spread of this pandemic, it was really only a matter of time until someone here was affected. It may, perhaps, have come sooner than anybody in Suffolk hoped or expected, but the fact remains that it’s here now.

Fortunately, this man reportedly did all of the right things after he began to experience a rapid onset of symptoms following a trip to New York. As health care experts have been pleading for weeks, he immediately self-isolated, sought care through his primary care provider and got tested. Local health department officials had a small list of close contacts to notify, since the man had isolated himself so soon.

We don’t know who this man is, and since he has the right to privacy regarding his health information like we all deserve and expect, we won’t know unless he comes forward to talk about his experience. But we do applaud him for doing the responsible things he needed to do to help protect his family, friends and neighbors.

One confirmed case in our area — and, experts say, likely a few others who have not been tested or are not symptomatic — are not reasons to lose perspective. Experts have told us how to make sure this virus dies out. The most effective ways to avoid getting infected with coronavirus bear repeating here:

  • Practice social distancing. Maintain at least six feet of space between yourself and other individuals when out in public.
  • Avoid crowds of more than 10 people. Don’t go out unless it’s absolutely necessary.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid non-essential travel.