No Immediate Threat

With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) closely monitoring an outbreak caused by 2019 novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China, the Westchester County Department of Health is ready for the possibility that travelers with the virus could arrive in the County.

The County Health Department is working with state and federal partners to learn more about this virus, is sharing information with local medical providers and has created a web page on coronavirus for the public. The County Health Department would coordinate any local response with the New York State Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, local hospitals, medical providers, and emergency medical services.

“While the risk to residents is low, our training prepares us to handle emerging disease outbreaks like this,” said Sherlita Amler, MD, Commissioner of Health. “Anyone who has symptoms and recently traveled to Wuhan or has had contact with someone from Wuhan should first call their health care provider and await further instructions to avoid exposing others.”

The first U.S. case of this new coronavirus was identified in a Washington state man who returned from Wuhan, China, on Jan. 15, before federal health officials initiated airport screening. Measures are now in place to screen and monitor travelers from this region at five U.S. airports, including John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

Cases of novel coronavirus have been identified in Thailand, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, as well as China and the U.S. Symptoms may include runny nose, headache, fever, cough, sore throat and a general ill feeling. There is no specific treatment for illnesses caused by coronaviruses. Most people will recover on their own after resting and drinking plenty of fluids. To relieve symptoms, people with the virus can take pain and fever medication, use a room humidifier or take hot showers to help ease a sore throat and cough.

Coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through coughing and sneezing, close personal contact, touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands, or rarely, fecal contamination.

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