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Infectious Disease

Novel Coronavirus 2019

What is the Novel Coronavirus?

The Novel (New) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is an outbreak of respiratory illness originating in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.  Although it is uncommon for animal coronaviruses to infect people and then spread from person to person, the 2019-nCoV is a betacoronavirus, similar to other coronaviruses such as MERS and SARs, all of which have their beginnings in bats.  The source of 2019-nCoV is reportedly linked to a large seafood and animal market in Wuhan, China.  This virus that started as being spread from animal to person is now known to pass from person to person.  Globally, there are 9,826 confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV with 213 deaths. The CDC has reported as of 1/31/2020 6 confirmed cases in the United States.

How does the Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) spread?

  • Spreads person to person via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes
  • Incubation period  between 2 to 14 days

What are the symptoms of the Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)?

  • Fever, cough, shortness of breath

How can you protect yourself from Novel (New) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)?

The CDC’s recommendations for prevention are the general guidelines already established at this time of year, to prevent the spread of infectious diseases such as the flu.

  • Frequently wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand rub
  • When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough

At this time, CDC does not currently recommend the use of face masks for the general public.  They don’t routinely recommend the use of face masks by the public to prevent respiratory illness and certainly are not recommending that at this time for this new virus. 1.

What should you do if you suspect you have the Novel (New) Coronavirus?

Monitor your symptoms

Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g., difficulty breathing).

Call ahead before visiting your doctor

Before going to your medical appointment, call the healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms and if you’ve had close contact to individuals diagnosed with 2019-nCoV or recently traveled from Wuhan, China . This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected.

When should I wear a face mask?

If you have symptoms Novel (New) Coronavirus, you should wear a face mask when you are in the same room with other people and when you visit a healthcare provider. If you cannot wear a face mask, the people who live with you should wear one while they are in the same room with you.

Stay home except to get medical care

You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care. Do not go to work, school, or public areas, and do not use public transportation or taxis.

Separate yourself from other people in your home

As much as possible, you should stay in a different room from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available.

Cover your coughs and sneezes

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or you can cough or sneeze into your sleeve. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can, and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Wash your hands

Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, if soap and water are not available. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid sharing household items

You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding, or other items with other people in your home. After using these items, you should wash them thoroughly with soap and water.

How should I stay informed about the Novel (New) Coronavirus?

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is providing daily situation updates regarding the threat and spread of 2019-nCoV to the American people.  Additionally, the World Health Organization (WHO) is providing information and guidance regarding the current outbreak of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).



1. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/t0130-novel-coronavirus-update-telebriefing.html