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IMPERIAL COUNTY HEALTH OFFICER SHARES UPDATE ON 2019 NOVEL CORONAVIRUS

Individuals are encouraged to take steps to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses. 

IMPERIAL COUNTY- The Imperial County Public Health Department shared today that county health officials are monitoring for the spread of coronavirus.  Public health department staff continues to work closely with state and federal agencies to monitor the cases of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the China outbreak. Public Health Officer Dr. Stephen Munday stated that there have been no confirmed cases in Imperial County. Health officials recently announced that the illness, which originated in Wuhan, in Hubei province, China, has spread to Southern California with six confirmed cases:  two people in Santa Clara County, two people in San Benito County, one person in Los Angeles County and one person in Orange County.

Dr. Munday stated, “We understand that this can be a stressful time for the residents of Imperial County with everything they are hearing about the situation in China.  I want our residents to know that our public health staff is doing everything it can to prevent the illness from spreading in our community.  I encourage you to continue to show compassion and care to all our neighbors.  It is important to quash actions that could perpetuate a stigma attached to the 2019 novel coronavirus.”

The Department’s epidemiology staff is conducting enhanced surveillance for respiratory illnesses which is done year-round, including Severe Acute Respiratory Infection surveillance project at the two local hospitals.  In addition, public health staff has shared information about screening patients with respiratory symptoms and documenting travel history with local hospitals, community clinics, and healthcare providers.  Specimen collection kits are also being provided to healthcare providers.

Dr. Munday added that the incubation period for the 2019 novel coronavirus and other related coronaviruses seems to be around two weeks.  Even though travel from Wuhan has been closed by the Chinese government, it seems likely that there will be additional cases detected in California and the United States. Individuals who have traveled in mainland China are required to “self-quarantine” for two weeks and contact the local health department.

The Imperial County Public Health Department is recommending the following steps to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

For general information about the 2019 novel coronavirus, the public can visit the Imperial County Public Health Department website at www.icphd.org or visit the California Department of Public Health website at www.cdph.ca.gov.  The public is encouraged to follow the Department’s official social media platforms for the most updated information.

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