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Coronavirus Outbreak - Risks and Recommendations

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In December 2019, a novel or new coronavirus was first identified in Wuhan, China. As of January 28th, there have been over 6,000 confirmed cases reported globally, including five cases in the United States. Other countries with cases of 2019 Coronavirus (2019 n-CoV) include Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, Taipei, Macau, and Korea. 2.2% of the cases referenced above were fatal to the person who contracted this illness.

While the risk of illness to Iowans remains low, there are some recommendations to consider. People with fever and lower respiratory symptoms (cough, difficulty breathing), AND recent travel history of visiting China in the 14 days before illness onset should be tested for 2019-nCoV. Please call your health care provider’s office to schedule an appointment, if possible, so efforts to limit exposure to other patients can be implemented.

Reminder: There are four common coronaviruses that typically circulate in fall and winter. These coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. The common coronaviruses are generally self-limiting and only last for a short period of time in healthy people. Most people will get infected with one or more of the common human coronaviruses in their lifetime. Healthcare providers test for these common coronaviruses routinely and no public health measures are needed to address common coronaviruses.

Myrtue Medical Center and the Department of Public Health are closely monitoring the evolution of the 2019 n-CoV with their partnership with the Iowa Department of Public Health. We also encourage all age groups to follow standard procedures listed below to reduce the spread of illness:

  • Clean hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Thoroughly cook meat and eggs
  • Cover nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with tissue or flexed elbow
  • Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
  • No unprotected contact with live wild or farm animals.
Please contact Myrtue Medical Center’s Department of Public Health at 712.755.4422 for general questions about 2019 n-CoV. Contact your health care provider if you have symptoms and travel history to China or exposure to someone who has been diagnosed with 2019 n-CoV.