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Westchester County Health and Public Safety Officials Address Coronavirus Concerns at Public Health Forum Hosted by Berkeley College

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2020
Contact: Kelly Depsee
Director, Communications and External Relations
973-200-1099
KME@BerkeleyCollege.edu
 

WESTCHESTER COUNTY HEALTH AND PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICIALS
ADDRESS CORONAVIRUS CONCERNS AT PUBLIC HEALTH FORUM
HOSTED BY BERKELEY COLLEGE

Dr. Ambler addresses attendees at the public health forum

Photo Caption: Sherlita Amler, MD, FAAP, Commissioner, Westchester County Department of Health, encourages the public to stay informed about the coronavirus through official health resources such as the Centers for Disease Control. More than 50 representatives of local schools, government and community organizations attended the Public Health Forum, hosted by Berkeley College in White Plains, NY.

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Westchester County health and public safety officials addressed community concerns about the coronavirus, as well as offered tips for awareness and prevention of the illness, during a Public Health Forum hosted by Berkeley College in White Plains, NY, on February 6, 2020. The audience included more than 50 representatives of K-12 schools, colleges, government and community organizations. More than 40,000 cases of the virus have been reported in China, though no cases have been confirmed in New York.

Sherlita Amler, MD, FAAP, Commissioner, Westchester County Department of Health, described the origin and symptoms of the virus, as well as its implications for travel to the United States. She said Westchester County stands ready to collaborate with federal, state and local officials to address the virus, and encouraged the public to take precautions and educate themselves using official health resources such as the Centers for Disease Control. She acknowledged that the situation surrounding the virus is changing rapidly.

“We’re trying to keep the public at-large well versed in what is going on with this disease. We still have a whole lot of information that we don’t know,” Dr. Amler said. “This problem will not go away today, tomorrow or next week. We will probably be dealing with this for a while.”

Saungi McCalla, RN, CIC, FAPIC, Director, Infection Prevention and Control, White Plains Hospital, said influenza, which has caused between 10,000 and 25,000 deaths in the United States since October 2019, should be of greater concern.

“(Influenza) is the biggest threat that we face right now,” Ms. McCalla said. She encouraged the audience to get the flu vaccine and to focus on one simple task – hand-washing. “Hand hygiene is the cheapest and most effective way to prevent these infections,” she said.

Michael Blecker, Deputy Chief and Assistant Director of Operations, Empress Emergency Medical Services, shared his experiences as a first responder, and encouraged those who think they might be infected to call for medical assistance before traveling to a doctor’s office or hospital. “We need to make sure that we are properly prepared to assist you with your illness,” he said.

David E. Chong, Commissioner of Public Safety, City of White Plains, denounced social media as a source of misinformation about the coronavirus. He said some social media influencers are joking about the illness, or even promoting discrimination and hate.

“To be educated on something is the best thing to do, because that alleviates fears. But to be educated over social media – those are not the people who should be educating you,” Commissioner Chong said. “We have some very hurtful things going on on social media, some very hateful things. As a member of law enforcement, I ensure that this will not be tolerated.”

Robert Miller, Campus Operating Officer, said Berkeley College was proud to organize the forum as a resource for students, staff and the community at-large.

“We want educational institutions, government and community organizations, and leaders in Westchester County to know that Berkeley College is a partner in serving the public good,” Mr. Miller said. “This is our mission: To empower students to achieve lifelong success in dynamic careers. There is nothing more important than maintaining the health and well-being of our communities.”

Read More: Click here to see coverage of the event on News 12 Westchester.

Public Health Forum

Photo Caption: (Top left) Nikita Ramos of News 12 Westchester interviews David E. Chong, Commissioner of Public Safety, City of White Plains, about law enforcement response to the coronavirus. (Top right) Saungi McCalla, RN, CIC, FAPIC, Director, Infection Prevention and Control, White Plains Hospital, discusses the threat of influenza in the United States. (Bottom) Michael Blecker, Deputy Chief and Assistant Director of Operations, Empress Emergency Medical Services, encourages those who think they might be infected to call ahead for medical assistance before traveling.

About Berkeley College 

Berkeley College, founded in 1931, is a career-focused institution accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education that offers students Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Associate’s degree and Certificate programs in more than 20 career fields. The College has campuses in Newark, Paramus, Woodbridge and Woodland Park, NJ, as well as in Midtown Manhattan and White Plains, NY, with more than 5,700 students enrolled. In addition, Berkeley College Online® serves a global population. U.S. News & World Report has named Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs and among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans, for seven consecutive years. The website address is www.BerkeleyCollege.edu.

The mission of Berkeley College is to empower students to achieve lifelong success in dynamic careers.

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Empowering lives for 90 years!