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Riverside County health officials monitoring spread of coronavirus; report no local cases

Post Date:01/27/2020 3:40 PM

Riverside County health officials are working with state and federal representatives to monitor the cases of novel coronavirus (nCoV) from the Wuhan, China outbreak. Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser said there have been no confirmed cases in Riverside County. 

Health officials recently announced the illness, which originated in Wuhan, China, has spread to Southern California with one case each in Orange and Los Angeles counties.

“It is understandable Riverside County residents would be anxious with all the media reports about the growing number of cases, but I want the community to know everything is being done to prevent the illness from spreading here,” said Kaiser. “At this time, we have no evidence these individuals had contacts in Riverside County during the period they would be contagious.”

Kaiser said the incubation period for nCoV and other related coronaviruses seems to be around two weeks. Even though travel from Wuhan has been closed by the Chinese government, it seems likely there will be additional cases detected in California.

“As nCoV has substantial similarities to the SARS virus from 2002, which is also a coronavirus, we are treating it with similar urgency,” Kaiser said.

Kaiser said the Department of Public Health will be coordinating with schools, hospitals and the emergency medical system to ensure a uniform and fast response if a case is identified in Riverside County.

Coronavirus Prevention

There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • 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 sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. 

Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Novel Coronavirus? 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. 

Why is it named Coronavirus? The name coronavirus comes from the Latin word corona, meaning crown or halo. Coronaviruses are named for the crown-like spikes on their surface. 

How does the virus spread? This virus probably originally emerged from an animal source but now seems to be spreading from person-to-person. It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum.  Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so. It’s not clear yet how easily 2019-nCoV spreads from person-to-person. 

What are the symptoms and complications? Current symptoms reported for patients with 2019-nCoV have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

Am I at risk for 2019-nCoV infection in the United States? This is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment may change daily. The latest situation summary updates are available on CDC’s web page 2019 Novel Coronavirus, Wuhan, China.

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