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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause symptoms of colds. However, this is a “novel” virus, originating in China in late 2019 (hence the name, 2019 Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19). Until recently, this particular strain of coronavirus circulated among animals only. Now it appears to have spread to humans, and can be spread between humans.
CURRENT UNDERSTANDING OF VIRUS
- Symptoms most commonly include: fever with cough or shortness of breath; Some people have fewer or no symptoms at all. Headache, sore throat, and runny nose also occur with this virus.
- Spread is most likely from droplets (cough and sneezing).
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers this a serious public health threat, but with health risk from this virus to be low at this time.
- Symptoms of 2019-nCoV may appear in as few as two days, or as long as 14 days, after exposure.
- Most people with this infection will recover on their own. There is no specific treatment for novel coronavirus infection yet.
- For patients who are more severely ill, hospitals can provide supportive care.
To help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including the coronavirus and flu, follow these important tips:
- 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.
- Individuals with chronic health issues and/or individuals experiencing severe symptoms should be evaluated by a medical professional.
- Wearing of face masks by students and staff members. Wearing of masks in public is not recommended for Americans by the CDC nor by our local public health department. Handwashing is considered the best protection from infectious diseases.
More information can be found on the Placer County Health and Human Services website and on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.