Not a significant amount of new information to report this week. Based on information from the Virginia Dept. of Health and the Center for Disease Control (CDC), here’s a brief summary of information available as of Feb 4th.
- The situation continues to be rapidly evolving. VDH has setup a web page specifically for coronavirus – www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus. This site has up-to-date information about the situation in Virginia as well as direct links to CDC information.
- As of 2/4/20, 24,662 confirmed cases have been reported world-wide. 29 countries are now reporting confirmed cases, with the majority still found in China. The risk to the general public continues to be low.
- In the US, there are currently 11 confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV, with the known cases being found in 5 states (MA IL, WA, CA & AZ). It is expected that additional cases will be identified in the coming days. 2 of the 11 cases in the US are confirmed person-to-person transmissions of the virus. In both cases, the transfer was between spouses.
- In VA, 5 individuals have been tested for 2019-nCoV. All 5 tested negative for the virus.
- As mentioned before, It’s important to note that we are still in flu season – flu is currently considered widespread in VA. As of the Jan 31st VDH Weekly Influenza report, 4,256 case of flu had been reported in VA this flu season and VDH had received 442 pneumonia and flu related death reports. The VDH recommends everyone take 3 actions to prevent further spread of influenza:
- Get vaccinated every year – if you haven’t already gotten your flu shot this year, it is not too late.
- Practice good hand hygiene and cough etiquette. Everyone should was their hands with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers regularly. Those that develop a cough or a sneeze should do so into a tissue or the inside of their elbow, washing their hands afterwards.
- Take antivirals as prescribed by your healthcare provider if you do become sick.
- While they are still learning how 2019-nCoV is transmitted, it is likely that it will also be determined to be transmitted through coughing, sneezing or close personal contact just like the flu. Again, good hand hygiene and cough etiquette is likely a good way to prevent the spread of 2019-nCoV.
Moving forward, my plan is to provide a weekly update unless circumstances warrant a more frequent update. The VDH webpage www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus is the best source for up-to-date information.