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New Haven Officials Following CDC Guidelines for Coronavirus Monitoring

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With concern over the coronavirus growing, local, state and federal officials are monitoring people who are traveling to the U.S. from China.

Those people are called “travelers of interest,” and they’re identified by airport officials at 20 airports across the country.

City officials in New Haven say they’re participating in the process.

“We are actively doing surveillance on any traveler of interest so they have to be vetted,” said Maritza Bond, New Haven’s director of public health.

When a traveler arrives to the U.S. from China, airports will notify the state health departments of that person’s final destination. The details then filter from the state to local officials.

“In New Haven I receive that through a secured surveillance system,” Bond said. “We then activate our team to do a secure surveillance form.”

A doctor at Yale is part of the World Health Organization team tasked with identifying a coronavirus vaccine.

The passengers are screened at the airports for fever, cough and trouble breathing. If there are no symptoms, the CDC says those travelers of interest are either placed under federal, state or local quarantine for 14 days, or asked to monitor their own health for the same time frame.

In the second case, they’re asked to follow up with local health officials. That’s where Bond and her team come in.

“We just want to make sure that for preventative reasons that we’re just tracking them to make sure they’re going to remain asymptomatic,” she said.

Bond wouldn’t confirm the number of people currently under surveillance, saying the number changes every day. A source told NBC Connecticut there are three people who recently arrived from China and are voluntarily being monitored until March 6.  

Bond said everyone they’re monitoring remains symptom-free and are voluntarily quarantined. They’re also providing the city updates on their health according to the CDC guidelines. If they remain symptom-free, they will no longer be monitored after 14 days.

With increased travel ahead for spring break across the country, some say they’re taking extra precautions.

“I think that it’s something that’s going to affect all of us one way or another,” said Steve Guttman of Trumbull. “Now you have bus stations and train stations just like this and it’s just definitely a heightened awareness and a concern.”

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