At 11 a.m. Friday, Solanco school officials were planning to increase cleaning efforts in the district's schools and looking at ways to reduce the number of students in the schools' cafeterias.
Shortly after 2 that afternoon, district officials decided to close schools for a week. Less than an hour later, Governor Tom Wolf ordered all Pennsylvania public schools closed for two weeks.
That's just how fast community groups and government agencies have had to respond to the growing threat posed by the coronavirus.
The schools have also cancelled any events using the district's buildings and grounds. That included the daddy-daughter dance scheduled for this past Saturday and the upcoming kindergarten registration program.
By Monday morning, officials were looking at ways to provide remote learning through the internet. They were also working on ways to get meals to students who normally eat free and reduced price breakfasts and lunches at schools.
Solanco isn't the only local agency canceling or postponing events.
Flowing Oil Café cancelled its March 14, March 28, and April 4 free community meals, coordinator Virgil Roark said.
Last year, the early March meal attracted 101 people; 73 attended the second March meal in 2019.
"We will make a decision early in April about the April 18 meal," he said.
Quarryville Fire Company postponed its ham shoot fundraiser scheduled for Saturday, April 14.
"We hope to do it in the future but we have not set a date yet," fire company president James Herr said.
The company's volunteers did pull winning tickets for the event's gun raffle and notified the winners.
The Southern Lancaster County Farmers Sportsman Association postponed the gun show scheduled for April 14 and 15 at the Solanco Fairgrounds.
A new date has not been announced.
On Friday night, Bart Township Fire Company officials announced they were canceling the second of their mud sales. The March 21 sale was to have offered building materials and other items. Instead, the volunteer firefighters will be cleaning up the sale grounds that day.
The Quarryville Library closed Friday evening, March 14, and will remain closed for the immediate future.
No date has been set for it to reopen.
Robert Fulton Fire Company's Auxiliary has cancelled its monthly morning breakfast, scheduled for March 21.
New Hope Community Life Ministry has postponed its fundraising bicycle ride scheduled for next month.
Organizer John Girvin is looking for an alternate date and hopes to be able to hold the ride in June.
Quarryville Presbyterian Retirement Community began surveying employees and residents on March 10 to determine if they had elevated temperatures or other signs of the virus.
On March 13, the skilled care and personal care facilities were closed to visitors.
"We are blessed that there are no known infections in our community at this time and pray that our residents and team members continue to be safe," retirement community spokesperson Kathy Sutherland wrote in an email.
Dr. Peterson on coronavirus
by Alan S. Peterson, M.D.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.
COVID-19 is spreading from person to person in China, and limited spread among close contacts has been detected in some countries outside China, including the United States. Risk of infection is dependent on exposure. Close contacts of people who are infected are at greater risk of exposure, for example, health care workers and close contacts of people who are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. CDC continues to closely monitor the situation.
The first case of COVID-19 in the United States was reported on January 21, 2020. The current count of cases of COVID-19 in the United States is available on CDC’s webpage at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html.
The virus that causes COVID-19 probably emerged from an animal source, but now it seems to be spreading from person-to-person. Some diseases are highly contagious (like measles), while other diseases are less so. At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably the virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading between people. Learn what is known about the spread of newly emerged coronaviruses at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html.
Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of: • Fever
• Shortness of breath
Many patients have pneumonia in one or both lungs, and in the worst case scenario, can die. The fatality rate is higher than the flu, especially in the elderly or those with other medical problems.
The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19.
There are simple everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. These include:
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available.
If you are sick, to keep from spreading respiratory illness to others, you should:
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
If you were in one of them within the past 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should seek medical care. Call the office of your health care provider before you go, and tell them about your travel and your symptoms. They will give you instructions on how to get care without exposing other people to your illness. While sick, avoid contact with people, don’t go out, and delay any travel to reduce the possibility of spreading illness to others.
There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19. If you have not had a flu vaccination this year, get one now.
There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19 because it is a novel or new virus. Research is underway for a vaccine and for treatments, but for now treatment is just for whatever symptoms you have. People with COVID-19 can seek medical care to help relieve symptoms, but call before going to the provider for instructions.
For more information: www.cdc.gov/COVID19