The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is providing an update regarding its investigation into a potential case of 2019 Novel Coronavirus in a Delaware resident.
Test results from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) came back negative for the virus. There is no other person in Delaware under investigation at this time.
“We continue to learn more about this new emerging virus every day. It is important to emphasize that this situation and the response are rapidly evolving,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “We continue to coordinate closely with the CDC, as well as with our local health care providers to monitor for potential cases. We will continue to keep the public updated as new information becomes available.”
On Thursday, the World Health Organization declared a Public Health Emergency of international concern for the novel coronavirus outbreak.
First time in 50 years that CCD has issued a quarantine order
And on Friday the CDC took unprecedented action by issuing federal quarantine orders for all 195 passengers who recently returned to the U.S. from Wuhan, China. The quarantine will last 14 days from when the plane left Wuhan, China. As of Sunday, there were 14,411 cases in China, according to the World Health Organization.
Dr. Nancy Messonnier, Director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters on Friday that the CDC is trying to learn more about reports of the asymptomatic spread of the coronavirus.
Anthony S. Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), told the JAMA Network last week that the fast-spreading virus is on track to become a global epidemic. “Now we’re seeing – right before our eyes – the evolution of what looks like is going to be a serious outbreak… It has spread to all 30 provinces in China, and it has gone to more than a dozen countries outside of China, including France, Germany and the U.S.,” he said.
U.S. health officials are monitoring eight confirmed cases in the United States in Arizona, Boston, California, Chicago and Seattle.
Both CDC and DPH, however, continue to state that the risk of this novel coronavirus spreading to the general public remains low. While the number of cases are increasing in the U.S., there are still a small number. Risk is based on exposure. Only those individuals with recent travel to China or who have had contact with someone who has had recent travel and is ill, have an increased risk of becoming ill.
For persons without an associated travel risk, it should be assumed that most respiratory illnesses are not 2019 Novel Coronavirus.
Symptoms of 2019-nCoV are most similar to lower respiratory infections with patients having fever, cough, and shortness of breath. There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for 2019-nCoV infection. Many individuals infected with 2019-nCoV recover with rest, drinking plenty of fluids, and taking over-the-counter medications to help relieve symptoms.
If at any point laboratory testing confirms a case of 2019 Novel Coronavirus in a Delaware resident, the available details and protective recommendations would be shared with both the affected parties and the public as quickly as possible.
Because Delaware is in the heart of flu and respiratory disease season, and with nearly 3,000 cases statewide, most people are at greater risk of contracting seasonal influenza than coronavirus.
Right now, 2019-nCoV has not been found to be spreading widely in the United States, so there are no additional precautions recommended for the general public to take. The best guidance at this point is to take the same everyday precautions recommended for avoiding colds and flu:
- Get your flu vaccine if you have not already.
- Stay home when you are sick and avoid well people as much as possible.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes.
- Practice good hand hygiene – frequently wash hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
The U.S. Department of State issued a travel advisory on January 31, 2020, advising U.S. citizens not to travel to China due to the ongoing situation involving the 2019 novel coronavirus.
Travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice, and commercial carriers have reduced or suspended routes to and from China. If you are considering a trip to China, keep an eye on the news, federal travel advisories, and be aware of this evolving situation. If you have recent travel to China and have become ill, call ahead to your health care provider to discuss concerns and next steps.