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Advice from Dr. Mejia, our CMO


You may have heard on the news that a case of Novel Coronavirus was confirmed in Snohomish County on Tuesday, January 21, 2020. This is the first reported case in the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring developments and is partnering with Washington State to support ongoing investigation, including potentially tracing close contacts to determine if anyone else has become ill.

While person-to-person spread has been established with this virus, the exact mechanism is unclear. It is also not clear how easily the virus can spread.

However, as other coronaviruses are spread via respiratory droplets with close contacts, it is suspected this coronavirus may have similar transmission - such as how influenza and other respiratory illness may spread.

About the Coronavirus…

The new coronavirus was identified in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, where an outbreak of pneumonia occurred. This virus, also known as the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019 nCoV), is responsible for about 300 confirmed cases in China, including some outside Wuhan City. The outbreak which began in early December 2019, continues to expand to a growing number of countries including the U.S.

Public health screening for travelers has been put into effect at several U.S. airports. Travelers to Wuhan should avoid contact with sick people, animals (alive or dead), and animal markets.

What you should know…

If you have traveled to the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China on or after December 1, 2019, and developed illness within 2 weeks of

leaving, or if you develop the following after potential exposure to an infected traveler: feeling sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing:

Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel or exposure and your symptoms. Avoid contact with others. Do not travel while sick. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

How to protect others…

If you have cold-like symptoms, you can help protect others by doing the following:

Stay home while you are sick. Avoid close contact with others. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands. Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.

Treatment…

There are no specific treatments for illnesses caused by human coronaviruses. Most people with common human coronavirus illness will recover on their own. However, you can do some things to relieve your symptoms such as:

Take pain and fever medications (Caution: do not give Aspirin to children). Use a room humidifier or take a hot shower to help ease a sore throat and cough.

If you are mildly sick, you should:

Drink plenty of liquids. Stay home and rest.

If you are concerned about your symptoms, contact your health care provider.

Prevention…

There are currently no vaccines available to protect you against human coronavirus infection. The above precautions may reduce your risk for infection.

Older travelers and those with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease and should discuss travel to Wuhan with their health care provider.

Washington State, United States of America

©2019 Community Health Worker Coalition for Migrants and Refugees (CHWCMR)