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AAC Health Officer: Stay safe, but reach out

Updated: Apr 5

Nilesh Kalyanaraman, M.D: Stay safe and "band together"


Transcript from statement during March 28th Live feed of digital town hal

Nilesh Kalyanaraman, M.D., AAC Health Officer

“Thank you county executive and good morning everyone. As I'm sure many of you are following the numbers of people who are infected both those in our county, and in the the state continue to grow. We are now just about at 1000 in the state and 88 in Anne Arundel County.

And last night, we were informed that the first person, first person to die in Anne Arundel County from COVID-19. Our thoughts are with, with their family.

At the same time, there are many people being sick and hospitalized, and I want to share that, you know, we talked about we talked about the fact that there are a lot of people who are who don't have symptoms that are walking around. But this disease takes it takes its toll on everybody. We particularly look at those who are vulnerable, those who are older, those who have chronic illnesses, those who are homeless.

But when we look at what's happening, we see that of the people being hospitalized, half of them are under the age of 50. They may not pass away, but this is a significant, this is a significant burden. This disease takes its toll on people across the age spectrum. And as we go on, there will be more and more people who are going to get severely ill from this and we need to be thinking about, not just those who are most vulnerable, but also the, all of us and how we're taking how we are each taking our place in this, and doing our part.

So as much as we've made a lot of changes in the past three weeks, and I think back to, it was just three weeks ago that we had our first case here in the state, and just a little over two weeks ago in this county, and the world looks different. There's still more that we need to do. We're still we still have to go shop. We still have to go do those things that are needed to get through our day. But we still have room to think about how we do that.

If you're going to a store and there's a line outside, that's not the time to go. If you're going to a park or another location, and there's a gathering, now is not the time to have that. And it's hard. It's hard to think about how much you've changed and yet that there's more to do. But that's what each of us can contribute to this, to this situation to make it better.

We've gotten questions about what happens during Easter, Passover, or other religious gatherings. And the sad truth is, is that the virus doesn't care about any of that. Same things we talked about in terms of social distancing in good hygiene, and avoiding gatherings are still true. We don't get to change the rules of the virus. And so I ask you, I ask you to think about how you can observe these holidays, in a way that safe, and in a way that will help ensure that all of you will stay safe during those holidays.

We get asked about funerals and births. And just last night, my sister-in-law delivered healthy twins, and my wife and I were talking this morning about how we wouldn't see them for months, probably. It's hard all of us are affected by this. And our goal here is to do the things we need to do now so that we come out better on the other side of this.

And so I think the best way to think about this is not as if you're trying not to get sick, but instead to think about it as if you are already sick, and how do you keep from spreading it to others. As a test, if you cough out in public, you know you will get looks now. Why? Because people know that they need to keep their distance and it's hard for us to do that.

So think about how you would not pass it on to others. That's the social distancing we talked about. Keeping six feet from others, avoiding gatherings, infection control,, making sure that you're hand washing, using hand sanitizer if you don't have access to soap and water, disinfecting frequently touched objects. These are all still key things that we need to be doing every day and more so of that.

At the same time, we have the opportunity to think about what is it that I can do. If you are--if you are in a position where you're able to offer help, do so. Reach out,.there are opportunities to volunteer safely so that you can help your neighbors and if you need help ask for it. This is the time that we have to band together and we will be stronger and we will come out through, come out of this better if we stand together.”