The Utah Department of Health is actively monitoring an outbreak caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (COVID-19) first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. This outbreak began in early December 2019 and continues to expand in China and other countries.
NO CASES HAVE BEEN CONFIRMED IN UTAH. Although, the UDOH has investigated, and ruled out, several potential cases. Only cases diagnosed in Utah will be counted as Utah cases. Utah’s disease surveillance system is working as designed, as public health officials and health care providers are coordinating to identify and investigate potential cases.
While this is a worrisome public health situation, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 to the general public is believed to be low.
What You Can Do to Protect Yourself
If you have recently traveled to China and experience symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath you should seek immediate medical care. Be sure to tell your doctor about your recent travel, and avoid contact with other people while you are sick.
Everyone else can take steps to stop the spread of disease, such as:
- Avoid non-essential travel to China.
- Avoid travel and contact with other people if you are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid contact with sick people.
There are no specific treatments for illnesses caused by human coronaviruses. Most people with common human coronavirus illness will recover without treatment. However, you can do some things to relieve your symptoms:
- Take pain and fever medications (Caution: do not give Aspirin to children).
- Use a room humidifier or take a hot shower to help ease a sore throat and cough.
- If you are mildly sick: drink plenty of liquids, stay home, and rest.
What Health Care Professionals Can Do
If you are a health care provider evaluating a patient for suspected 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, please contact the Utah Department of Health immediately at 888-EPI-UTAH.
Interim guidance for health care professionals, along with information on infection control and a preparedness checklist are available through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What’s Happening in Utah
The Utah Department of Health is working with local health departments, healthcare providers, and other public health partners throughout the state to monitor illness associated with this new coronavirus and to prevent further spread.
The Department has activated its Incident Command System in order to ensure effective communication and coordination with all involved agencies.
While there are currently no confirmed cases in Utah, the UDOH will actively track potential cases as they occur in Utah and will reach out to local health departments and clinicians for assistance to determine the scope of this outbreak and provide technical assistance as necessary.
What’s Happening Nationally
There are five cases currently confirmed in the U.S. in four states – Arizona, California, Illinois, and Washington. The CDC is monitoring the situation, and has teams on the ground in China and other affected countries, as well as in the U.S. states that have confirmed cases.
Currently, passenger screening is ongoing at airports where most travelers returning from China enter the country. The CDC is working with the Federal Aviation Administration to expand entry health screening for travelers from Wuhan, China.
Public health entry screening is part of a layered approach that, when used with other public health measures already in place to detect ill arriving travelers, can slow and reduce the spread of disease into the United States.
Public health entry screening alone is not a guarantee against the possible importation of this new virus, but is an important public health tool during this period of uncertainty and part of a multilayered response strategy.
Travel into and out of Wuhan, China has been restricted. The number of travelers coming into the U.S. should decline and further reduce the potential for spread of illness.
More About Coronavirus
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others circulating among animals including camels, cats and bats.
There are several known coronaviruses that infect people and usually only cause mild respiratory disease, such as the common cold. However, at least two previously identified coronaviruses have caused severe disease — severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV have been ruled out as the cause of the current outbreak.
While originally thought to spread from animal to person, recently, there have been indications that person-to-person spread is occurring in China and affected countries.
The infectious period for this virus is unknown. Based on other coronaviruses, people infected with COVID-19 should be considered to be contagious from the day of fever onset until 10 days after fever ends, or until appropriate laboratory testing shows the patient is no longer contagious.
Coronaviruses typically have an incubation period of 2‒14 days after exposure. The specific incubation period for this coronavirus is unknown.
For additional information about the COVID-19 from the CDC, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.