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Important Message About the Coronavirus
What is 2019 novel coronavirus?
The 2019 novel coronavirus, called COVID-19, is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in humans. This virus was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.
What are the symptoms?
Patients have reported mild to severe respiratory illnesses with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
What are the severe complications?
Many patients can develop pneumonia in both lungs.
Is there a vaccine?
There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus.
Is there a treatment?
There is currently no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. People with the infection can seek medical care to help relieve symptoms.
How does COVID-19 spread?
The exact way the virus is spread is not fully known yet. With similar coronaviruses, person-to-person contamination usually happens via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other viruses spread. It could also be transmitted when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touches his or her mouth, nose, or eyes.
Can people in the U.S. get COVID-19 ?
Person-to-person spread of COVID-19 has been seen among close contacts of returned travelers from Wuhan, but as this time, the virus is NOT currently spreading person-to-person in the United States. Right now, the people who have the greatest risk of infection are those living in Wuhan or people who have traveled to Wuhan and other parts of China. Our government has also implemented travel restrictions to limit the spread of the virus here in the U.S. For more information on these restrictions, visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website.
Have there been cases of COVID-19 in the U.S.?
Yes, the first infection was reported on January 21, 2020. The current count of cases of infection with COVID-19 in the United States is available to view here.
How can I help protect myself?
This virus is not spreading around the United States right now, but the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed. There are simple everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of any 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. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
If you are sick, to keep from spreading respiratory illness to others, you should:
- Stay home and limit contact with others
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
What should I do if I recently traveled to China and got sick?
If you were in China within the past 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should seek medical care right away. It is important that you notify your primary care provider prior to your appointment 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 and delay any travel to reduce the possibility of spreading illness to others.
This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and CDC is providing new information as it becomes available. Be sure to check their website daily to stay up to date with the latest information.
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