Coronavirus — What You Need to Know
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a virus first detected in Wuhan, China, that has caused an outbreak of respiratory illness. The current outbreak has spread internationally, impacting an increasing number of countries. In the United States, imported cases of coronavirus infection in travelers have been detected and person-to-person spread of the virus also has been seen among close contacts of returned travelers from China. On February 25, 2020, the CDC confirmed COVID-19 in an individual who reportedly did not have relevant travel history or exposure to another known patient.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most people in the United States have little immediate risk of exposure to this virus. The virus is not currently spreading widely in the United States. However, it is likely that person-to-person spread will continue to occur and that, at some point, widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the United States will occur.
- Stay informed – the situation with the coronavirus is fluid and the CDC is updating its website daily with the latest information and advice for the public.
- Remember to take everyday preventive actions that are always recommended to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible. Stay home if you are sick.
- Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.
- 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 rub with at least 60% alcohol.
- The CDC and State Department have issued advisories asking people to avoid all nonessential travel to China and South Korea at this time. Travel alerts have also been issued for Japan, Italy and Iran.
Given the rapidly-evolving situation with COVID-19, it is prudent to revisit your organization’s emergency preparedness plans, including any pandemic planning. The CDC has made pre-pandemic planning guides available for community and faith-based organizations, educational institutions, workplaces and individual households.