The Connecticut Department of Public Health is releasing new guidance to schools and local health departments about coronavirus as the state takes steps to protect against the disease.
There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Connecticut and DPH said there are no patients in the state currently under investigation. Despite this, the state is taking steps to assess and manage the risk.
Travelers who visited China within 14 days of reaching the United States as being diverted to land at one of 11 airports in the country, where they undergo screening. Those who have been in Hubei Province, China, where the virus was first detected, or who are sick are referred for medical evaluation. Others are given information about self-monitoring and allowed to continue on.
Bradley International Airport is not one of these screening airports. According to DPH, there are currently several Connecticut residents undergoing a 14-day period of self-monitoring for coronavirus after traveling from China, though none of these people have displayed any symptoms.
Two people in Connecticut have been tested for coronavirus but both tested negative.
DPH Commissioner Renee Coleman-Mitchell has added coronavirus to the list of reportable diseases, meaning any Connecticut physician must report a case or possible case to DPH. The State Public Health Lab in Rocky Hill is slated to receive a kit from the CDC to test for coronavirus locally, which will allow the state test up to 800 people for the virus.
“Even though we currently have no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Connecticut and no patients under investigation, this new virus is a cause for concern,” said DPH Commissioner Renée D. Coleman-Mitchell. “We are doing everything we can to communicate new guidance from our federal partners to local schools and health care providers for how to assess and manage risk of anyone possibly been exposed to coronavirus. Though the current risk of coronavirus in our state remains low, we will keep everybody informed every step of the way,” Coleman-Mitchell wrote in a statement.
Coronavirus has killed more than 600 people since it was first detected in Wuhan, China. More than 31,000 cases have been reported worldwide, including 12 in the U.S. While the virus can be deadly, the World Health Organization says the majority of those infected suffer only a mild disease. According to WHO older people and people with pre-existing medical problems such as diabetes and heart disease appear to be most at risk.
Symptoms of coronavirus are similar to symptoms of the flu and include:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- A general feeling of being unwell
Anyone experiencing symptoms who has traveled to China or has had contact with someone who traveled should contact their health care provider before going in for treatment.
Steps to protect against the virus include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs, and avoiding close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness.
For more on coronavirus from the CDC, click here.