(Madera, Calif.) - Many of you have seen the news reports about the outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus infection (named 2019-nCoV) originating from the city of Wuhan in China. Chinese health officials have reported thousands of confirmed cases so far in China, with the virus reportedly spreading from person-to-person in many parts of that country. As of 2/3/2020, a total of 11 confirmed cases of this particular strain of coronavirus have been detected in the United States, with two in Southern California. All of the cases involved travel to China, and the Centers for Disease Control has implemented symptom screening policies for travelers arriving from China at several U.S. airports.
It is important to note that there are currently no confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV infections in Central California. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in this country. In fact, many strains are commonly treated at Valley Children’s.
Our entire Valley Children’s network is dedicated to protecting the health and wellbeing of children – and their families. At Valley Children’s Hospital, we will follow the recommendations of the California Department of Public Health by:
- Obtaining a travel history of all patients presenting with fever and acute respiratory illness
- Immediately placing anyone who shows symptoms AND has a positive travel history in a surgical mask and private room
- Immediately contacting our local health department if a suspected case is identified
- Under the guidance of the health department, we will test for the 2019-nCoV virus
While news of this particular coronavirus strain can be worrisome, Valley Children’s physicians and staff urge families to protect themselves from something that we are currently seeing in our emergency department and our primary care practices – cases of influenza (flu) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). We are in the heart of flu/RSV season and urge you to follow everyday preventative actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:
- 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.
If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s health, please call your primary care physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911 or visit your closest emergency department.