VA is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus (COVID-19). Doctors first identified the virus in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working with the World Health Organization (WHO), other government agencies along with state and local officials to respond to this emerging public health threat.
WHO recently declared a public health emergency of international concern. Cases have been identified in international locations including the United States (U.S.). The immediate risk to the U.S. is currently low.
The CDC has an aggressive response to identify potential cases and has activated its emergency operations center.
- Get a flu shot.
- Take flu antivirals if prescribed.
- Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. An easy way to mark the time is to hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice while scrubbing.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick or becoming sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue (not your hands) and throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Do not travel while sick.
- Seek medical care right away if you have both symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath and have either recently returned from China or have direct exposure to others diagnosed with Novel Coronavirus Disease.
- Before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
- Cover mouth and nose with tissue or sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
Doing your part
- It’s currently flu season. Follow CDC recommendations to get a flu vaccine. Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs as listed above.
- Health care professionals:
- Maintain awareness of people with travel history to China as well as fever and respiratory symptoms.
- When caring for a COVID-19 patient, follow recommended infection control procedures.
- People who may have COVID-19 infection:
- Follow CDC guidance on how to reduce the risk of spreading your illness to others.
- Stay up to date with CDC’s travel health notices.