Important information about the Coronavirus outbreak
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a health alert regarding an outbreak of a novel (new) Coronavirus in Wuhan City, China that began in December 2019. The cases have now spread to several parts of China. The first U.S. case was confirmed by the CDC in Seattle and a second one has been confirmed in Chicago. Some suspected cases are under investigation in several states.
Tarrant County Public Health Emergency Preparedness staff is working closely with the CDC and Texas Department of State Health Services to get the latest updates on this evolving situation. We are also updating our response plans as needed and have sent health alerts to the Tarrant County medical community and other partners.
TCPH is working with local hospitals on an ongoing basis to advise if patients meet CDC recommendations for testing. If we receive a confirmation of a case of novel Coronavirus, further communication will be provided to the public and media.
The Coronavirus causes a respiratory illness with fever and cough, may lead to severe pneumonia and is similar to the SARS and MERS Coronaviruses. The SARS outbreak of 2003 sickened over 8,000 and about 800 people died. Confirmed cases of the 2019 novel Corona Virus are now reported from 6 countries in addition to China.
Coronaviruses are part of a large family of viruses, which can sometimes cause lower-respiratory tract illnesses, such as pneumonia or bronchitis. Symptoms are similar to the flu and include runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, fever and a general feeling of being unwell. This is more common in people with cardiopulmonary disease and weakened immune systems.
Tarrant County Public Health recommends following the same preventive precautions as for any respiratory virus:
- 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.
More information on the Coronavirus is on the Department of State Health Services website: https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/.
The CDC is currently screening passengers at airports with direct or indirect traffic originating from Wuhan City: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Atlanta.
The CDC has prepared postcard handouts in English and Mandarin, which will be given to travelers from Wuhan City at screening airports.