The Coronavirus Outbreak: What You Need to Know

By on January 28, 2020

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) reports that two people in Southern California, one in LA County and the other in Orange County, have tested positive for novel coronavirus 2019 (nCoV-2019).

Health officials also said the immediate health risk from nCoV 2019 to the general public is low.

The outbreak first started in Wuhan, China and possibly linked to a seafood and animal market, but a growing number of patients reportedly have not had exposure to animal markets which suggests the virus is also being spread among people.

Symptoms of the virus may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure, are similar to the common cold and include fever, cough and breathing problems. Infected patients who can manage their symptoms at home probably don’t need to see a doctor, but if you are not able to hold down fluids, are disoriented or confused, or have difficulty breathing, it is important to see a doctor or go to an emergency room right away.

People who have recently traveled and who become ill are encouraged to notify their health care provider of their travel history.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. However, as a reminder, the CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • 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.

The CDC has also advised against non-essential travel to Hubei Province in Central China where Wuhan is the capital. More information about CDC’s response to 2019-nCoV is available online.