January 24, 2020. You have probably read or seen the news about the new coronavirus illness that started in Wuhan, China. This new virus has been confirmed in people in many parts of China as well as several other countries, including two in the United States. Since this virus is very new, local, state, and federal health authorities are watching the situation closely.
At this time, no cases of the new virus have been confirmed in Santa Clara County or in California. However, the situation and spread of this virus is quickly changing.
The potential for a disease outbreak is always a public health concern so we are preparing should someone in our county become ill with this new virus. We are working closely with public health departments in the Bay Area and local healthcare providers so that we are ready to take action to limit the spread of the virus and protect the public’s health.
Since there are so many cold and flu viruses circulating this time of year, and they have similar symptoms, I encourage you to get your flu shot. It will lessen your chance of getting the flu and take at least one virus you may get out of the mix.
The best way to protect yourself from any virus – and you’ve heard this before – is to wash your hands. Other things you can do to limit the spread of viruses:
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, sleeve, or arm. Do not use your hands.
- Avoid touching your face, particularly your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home if you are sick or have any respiratory symptoms.
- Consider avoiding large gatherings of people.
When should you call your medical provider? As far as this new virus is concerned, people who become ill with fever and cough or shortness of breath within two weeks of having been in Wuhan or another area in China where the new virus is circulating should call their healthcare provider. Public health physicians in our department are on call 24/7 to consult with providers.
You can stay up to date on the new coronavirus by visiting www.sccphd.org/coronavirus and www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.
One of the main goals of the Public Health Department is to prevent disease. When a new illness breaks out, it takes all of us – medical providers, community partners, governmental and other agencies, and the people who live and work here – to limit its spread. Each of us needs to do what we can to protect our own health, the health of our families and friends, and the health of the people we serve. Thank you for doing your part.
Dr. Sara Cody, Health Officer
County of Santa Clara