CHAPEL HILL — The Novel Coronavirus was declared yesterday by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be a “global emergency.” The CDC announced on the same day that a sixth case of the virus was found in Illinois, the first person-to-person case in the United States. The patient received the virus from his wife, who visited China recently.
The CDC also announced that the 195 Americans who returned to the United States on January 29 are being held in a two-week quarantine, “a precautionary and preventive step to maximize the containment of the virus in the interest of the health of the American public[,]…the repatriated citizens, their families, and their communities.”
WHO has confirmed that 9,600 people are infected in 23 countries and 213 have died from the virus. All reported deaths are still in China, and the United States is testing more than 200 people across 36 states.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services has released guidelines for healthcare providers current as of today, Friday, January 31, 2020.
Kristin Prelipp of the Orange County Health Department posted a press release on January 29 regarding the Novel Coronavirus on the health department’s website, listing precautionary measures and information about its presence in the United States, traveling from Wuhan, China.
Prelipp wrote that there are currently no confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus in North Carolina.
The press release read, “The Orange County Health Department is informing the public that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] confirmed five cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the United States. The patients recently returned from Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, where an outbreak of illness caused by this novel coronavirus has been ongoing since December 2019.”
The health department stated that anyone having traveled to China in the last 14 days and then feeling sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing should seek medical care immediately. Prior to going to a medical service provider, one should call ahead and notify them about the trip and the symptoms being experienced. Those who may be infected should avoid contact with others and avoid inessential travel while sick. They should cover their mouths and noses with a tissue or sleeve (not their hands) when coughing or sneezing, and wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
The Orange County Health Department added that the illness can be more serious for individuals with weakened immune systems, the elderly and those with underlying respiratory problems.
“All Orange County medical personnel and first responders have been informed about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus and have put in place a protocol to ensure the public’s safety, should Orange County encounter a case of 2019 Novel Coronavirus,” Prelipp stated.
According to USA Today, the six confirmed cases in the United States are in Arizona, Washington state, California and Illinois, with two cases each in Illinois and California.
According to the New York Times, the U.S. government is now conducting screenings in 20 airports and may soon be adding 15 more.
For more information about the current outbreak in China, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/novel-coronavirus-2019.html.