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Posted on: March 12, 2020

Novel Coronavirus Update

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Recently, a new coronavirus - 2019 Novel (New) Coronavirus - was detected in China that has not been previously found in humans. This coronavirus can lead to fever, cough and shortness of breath. There are thousands of confirmed cases in China, including cases outside of Wuhan and additional cases being identified in a growing number of countries internationally, including the United States. There are ongoing investigations to learn more about this virus. Orange County has one diagnosed case to date. 

Individuals who are experiencing symptoms and may have traveled to areas of concern, or have been in contact with somebody who has traveled to these areas, should call ahead to their health care provider before seeking treatment in person.

The 2019 novel coronavirus is a new virus and shouldn’t be confused with other coronaviruses that have been around for many years causing upper respiratory symptoms, like the common cold. If a routine test ordered by your health care provider and done at a local hospital or lab, is positive for coronavirus, that means that you have one of the common coronaviruses. The only way to test for 2019 novel coronavirus is through specialized testing at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you are unsure which kind of virus you are being tested for or what the result means, be sure to ask your health care provider. This is a rapidly changing situation. Please regularly check the CDC’s Novel Coronavirus webpage or the New York State Department of Health webpage for updates. Additionally, New Yorkers can call a hotline at 1-888-364-3065 where NYS Department of Health will be available to answer questions regarding the Novel Coronavirus. 

Important Health Information For Those Who Have Recently Traveled to Affected Areas 

If you recently traveled to an affected area and feel sick with fever, cough or trouble breathing, you should:

  • Seek medical care right away. Call ahead and tell them about your travel and symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others. Stay home, except for seeking medical care.
  • Avoid further travel until the illness resolves.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Symptoms

The 2019 novel coronavirus may cause mild to severe respiratory symptoms like:

  • cough
  • fever
  • trouble breathing and
  • pneumonia

CDC believes at this time that symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus.

How Does 2019 Novel (New) Coronavirus Spread?

Most of the early reported cases had contact with a seafood and live animal market, suggesting an animal source of the outbreak. However, most cases are now likely to be spread from person to person by droplets when coughing. Since this virus is very new, health authorities continue to carefully watch how this virus spreads.

Prevention

While there is currently no vaccine to prevent this virus, these simple steps can help stop the spread of this and other respiratory viruses:

  • 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.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • 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.

Guidance for Daycare, K-12 Schools and Colleges

Please see the following links for guidance released on March 4, 2020 for administrators of K-12 schools, colleges and daycares. Attachments referenced in guidance can be found here: 

Guidance for Long-Term Care Facilities

Please see the following links for guidance released on March 10, 2020 for long-term care facilities or facilities serving vulnerable populations in congregate settings. 

Guidance for Large Social Gatherings or Events 

Please see the link below for the press release from March 11, 2020 for Orange County. 

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