Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) information
What is 2019 novel coronavirus?The 2019 novel coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person to person. This virus was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a global health emergency. The same day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first human-to-human transmission in the United States.
Is novel coronavirus spreading in the United States?COVID-19 is spreading from person to person in China, and limited spread among close contacts has been detected in some countries outside China, including the United States, and more specifically, in the metropolitan New Orleans community. Risk of infection is dependent on exposure. Close contacts of people who are infected are at greater risk of exposure, for example healthcare workers and close contacts of people who are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.
Have there been cases of COVID-19 in the U.S.?Yes. The first case of COVID-19 in the United States was reported on January 21, 2020. The current count of cases of COVID-19 in the United States is available on CDC’s webpage at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html
What are the symptoms of the novel coronavirus?Patients with the COVID-19 have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:
- Shortness of breath
COVID-19 in Children:There is no evidence that children are more susceptible to COVID-19. In fact, most confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported from China have occurred in adults. There is an ongoing investigation to determine more about this outbreak in children. Updates from the CDC specifically for pregnant women and children can be found here.
How can I help protect myself and others?It’s still cold and flu season, and the same practices that stop the spread of these common illnesses are recommended:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
- Cover mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue away and wash your hands.
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces you touch.
What should someone do if they recently traveled to a level 3 travel advisory country and got sick after returning?If you traveled to a Level 3 travel advisory country within the past 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should seek medical care. Call the office of your health care provider before you go, and tell them about your travel and your symptoms. They will give you instructions on how to get care without exposing other people to your illness. While sick, avoid contact with people, don’t go out and delay any travel to reduce the possibility of spreading illness to others.
Is there a vaccine or treatment?There is currently no vaccine to protect against the novel coronavirus. The best way to prevent infection is to wash your hands frequently and avoid being exposed to this virus. And while there is no specific antiviral treatment, people with the novel coronavirus can seek medical care to help relieve symptoms.
What is PRIORITY HEALTH CARE doing?PRIORITY HEALTH CARE is committed to the health and safety of our patients and employees. As in all cases of emerging infectious diseases, we monitor closely and follow CDC recommendations. As more is understood about this virus, recommendations may change.
To help protect our patients against flu and other respiratory illness, PRIORITY HEALTH CARE currently has protocols in place for screening and testing utilizing LabCorp services. Please inform the office staff if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19.
Where can I get the latest coronavirus information?For the latest information, visit the cdc.gov/covid19
For more information about COVID-19 in Louisiana visit: www.ldh.la.gov/coronavirus