At Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children, we are closely following the spread of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China. Based on current information, the immediate health risk from the virus to the general American public is considered very low. To read more, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Who is at risk?
At the present time, the risk of acquiring the coronavirus in the United States is extremely low. The number of cases is very small, and very little person-to-person spread has occurred. The CDC has issued a level 3 warning for travel to China because the risk of acquiring the virus there is much higher. Older patients and those with medical problems are at highest risk of complications from the virus. In addition, those who travel to China may have difficulty getting back due to transportation shutdowns and might be subject to quarantine measures.
Who needs to be evaluated?
At this time, only people who meet very specific criteria need to be evaluated for the coronavirus. If you are not sick, you do not need medical care. Criteria for evaluation are: (1) fever, cough or shortness of breath in a person who has had close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus within 14 days of the onset of symptoms; (2) fever and cough or shortness of breath in a person who traveled from Hubei Province in China within 14 days of the onset of symptoms; and (3) fever, cough or shortness of breath in a person sick enough to require hospitalization who has traveled to mainland China within 14 days of onset of symptoms.
If you meet any of the criteria above, call your doctor to discuss. If you have a medical emergency and need immediate care, call 911 to be transported to the emergency room. Inform the dispatcher of your travel history.
How do I Prevent Getting Sick?
There are no vaccines or antiviral treatments available to protect against 2019-nCoV. The best way to prevent infections is to avoid exposure. To that end, the CDC recommends:
- Washing your hands often with soap and water.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth especially when out in public.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick and stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue away.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Get your flu shot. Your risk of a serious complication from influenza is many times higher than your risk from novel coronavirus.
As always, we value your trust in Tufts Medical Center’s ability to care for you and your family.
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