Saturday September 19, 2020
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Public Health And Wellness Continues To Monitor Coronavirus

The Louisville Metro Department of Public Health Wellness is working with area physicians, hospitals and government agencies to guard against and prevent the potential spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus. So far, there have been no confirmed cases or suspected cases in Louisville.

“Communicable disease monitoring, outbreak response planning, and working with community partners to respond to community health threats is something that’s core to our daily operations,” said Dr. Sarah Moyer, Chief Health Strategist and director of the Department of Public Health and Wellness. “Our team, led by our medical director, Dr. Lori Caloia, is working closely with our partners at the Kentucky Department for Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to stay up to date on the novel coronavirus. We’ve been sharing guidance to healthcare providers, local colleges and universities and local businesses with international operations.”

The Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness maintains detailed plans on how to respond to outbreaks of infectious diseases, such as the 2018 hepatitis A outbreak, as well as other community public health emergencies.

On Wednesday the Kentucky Department for Public Health reported that there are no confirmed or suspected 2019 novel coronavirus in the state. There are presently six confirmed cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus in the United States. All six cases are in isolation hospitals. They are in Arizona, California (2), Illinois(2) and Washington. These individuals had recently been in Wuhan, China or were close household contacts of those who had travelled to Wuhan. Yesterday the CDC reported the first case of person-to-person transmission in the United States between an Illinois woman who had travelled to Wuhan and her husband who had not.

The virus has now spread from China to 18 other countries and the World Health Organization has declared the 2019 novel coronavirus a global health emergency.
While the CDC considers this is a serious public health threat, based on current information, CDC reports that the immediate health risk from 2019 novel coronavirus to the general American public is low at this time. “Unless you have recently travelled to China or have been in close contact with someone who has, you are not at risk from the 2019 novel coronavirus,” said Dr. Moyer.

The 2019 novel coronavirus is a respiratory illness spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes, like the way that flu and other respiratory viruses spread. Like other respiratory viruses, 2019 novel coronavirus symptoms include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. If you have recently been to China and develop these symptoms, you should contact your health care provider immediately. Call ahead to alert them so measures can be taken to avoid spreading the virus at the health care facility. There are many strains of coronavirus, causing mild to severe illness. You may have been diagnosed in the past with a coronavirus. The 2019 novel coronavirus is a new unique strain.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019 novel coronavirus infection. You can protect yourself by taking everyday preventive actions including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • 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.

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