Novel Coronavirus Update- January 24, 2020

January 24, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring an outbreak caused by a novel (new) coronavirus in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Chinese authorities first identified the new coronavirus (2019 novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV), which has resulted in over 800 confirmed human infections in China with several deaths reported. A number of countries, including the United States, have been actively screening incoming travelers from Wuhan and exported human infections with the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in Thailand, Japan, and The Republic of Korea. The United States announced their first infection in a traveler in Washington state with 2019-nCoV detected in a traveler returning from Wuhan, and several suspected cases in Texas, California, Illinois, and recently a potential case arriving on a flight through RDU airport.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people such as has been seen with MERS and SARS.

While CDC considers this is a serious public health concern, based on current information, the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV to the general American public is considered low at this time. Nevertheless, CDC is taking proactive preparedness precautions.

The CDC recommends that health care providers should obtain a detailed travel history for patients being evaluated with fever and acute respiratory illness. Patients in the United States who meet specific criteria should be evaluated as a PUI (person under investigation) in association with the outbreak of 2019-nCoV in Wuhan City, China.

Although the transmission dynamics have yet to be determined, CDC currently recommends a cautious approach to patients under investigation for 2019 Novel Coronavirus Such patients should be asked to wear a surgical mask as soon as they are identified and be evaluated in a private room with the door closed, ideally an airborne infection isolation room if available. Healthcare personnel entering the room should use standard precautions, contact precautions, airborne precautions, and use eye protection (e.g., goggles or a face shield).

Granville Health System has taken a proactive response to this emerging pathogen. Processes are being created to screen all patients presenting to all registration desks in the Emergency Room, front admissions office, physician practices, and direct admits to inpatient areas for travel to areas abroad or contact with anyone, especially those displaying symptoms, that has traveled abroad in the last 14 days.

Any patient presenting with a fever, cough and lower respiratory congestion will be asked to wear a surgical mask upon intake to the facility or physician practice. The clinical staff is to be made aware of any positive screening of the patient, and the patient is to be placed into immediate airborne isolation until ruled out for exposure to the novel coronavirus. Any suspected case will be reported immediately to GHS Administration, the Infection Prevention nurse, and the local health department.

Further updates will be provided as the situation evolves.

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