Coronavirus: What you need to know

Information about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus outbreak is ‘an emerging, rapidly evolving situation’ with the CDC issuing new updates several times a week. What began as an animal virus has mutated and spread to people through exposures at a livestock market in Wuhan, China. Since the outbreak began, thousands of people have contracted the illness and more than 170 people in China have died. To date, confirmation of 2019-nCoV infection has occurred in 19 countries including the USA.

Five cases have been confirmed in Illinois, Arizona, California and Washington State. There are more than 100 potential cases waiting for lab analysis, which can only be done through the CDC.  Like upper respiratory infection and flu, signs and symptoms of this illness include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

CDC does not fully understand all modes of this virus’s transmission. For that reason, they are recommending standard, contact and airborne precautions for all healthcare personnel managing patients with known or suspected 2019-nCoV.  Infection control recommendations for healthcare workers include meticulous hand hygiene, use of PPE such as impervious gowns, gloves, NIOSH-certified N-95 respirators and eye (or face) shields for personal protection; and patient placement in airborne infection isolation rooms (AIIR) wherever possible.

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