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CDC Coronavirus Update

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently released a health update about the progression of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The virus is now circulating in mainland China, with additional cases reported in the United States and other countries. Health organizations have ascertained that the virus can be transmitted via human-to-human contact. Currently, 6 cases have been reported in the U.S. Globally, disease severity has ranged from mild symptoms to severe symptoms and death.

When treating a patient, clinicians should review the CDC flowchart, and consider the following questions:

  • Does the person have fever or symptoms of lower respiratory infection, such as cough or shortness of breath?
  • Has the patient traveled to mainland China within 14 days of symptom onset?
  • Has the patient had close contact with a person confirmed with 2019-nCoV infection?

If a patient meets these criteria, they should be asked to wear a surgical mask as soon as they are identified and should be escorted to a separate area with at least 6 feet of separation from other persons. Patients should be evaluated in an airborne infection isolation room (AIIR) if possible. Healthcare personnel entering the room should use standard precautions, contact precautions, airborne precautions, and use eye protection (e.g., goggles or a face shield). For more information about this, see CDC’s guideline for infection prevention and control recommendations.

Clinicians should immediately notify the healthcare facility’s infection control personnel and local health department. The health department will determine if this patient needs to be considered a PUI for 2019-nCoV and be tested for infection.

Any suspected cases should immediately be reported to your local public health department:

Alameda County Public Health Department Communicable Disease Section at (510) 267-3250 from 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM on weekdays. After hours calls should be directed to (925) 422-7595 and ask for the public health duty officer on call. Review the Alameda County Public Health Department health alert here.

Contra Costa Public Health Department: (925) 313-6740. After hours calls should be directed to the Sherrif's Dispatch at (925) 646-2441.