The Health Department is sharing information to help educate the public about an emerging global health concern, the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, 2019-n-COv. This is a new strain of Coronavirus, first detected in Wuhan, China.
As of January 28, 2020, five cases of 2019-n-COv have been identified in the United States. There are currently no identified cases of infection in Massachusetts. We are continuing to track guidance and updates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH), including clinical advisories, which have recently been shared with hospitals and other health and medical stakeholders.
The Health Department is closely monitoring emerging information from CDC and the MDPH. To date there have been no directives for local public health action in Massachusetts. We will be sure to provide prompt updates as the situation dictates.
Please be reminded that we are in the midst of cold and flu season and the risk of exposure to seasonal influenza is of greater concern at this time. We recommend people get their flu shot from the Winchester Health Department or their healthcare provider if they have not yet received one. There has been an uptick in seasonal influenza cases in recent weeks in Massachusetts and Winchester.
The following precautionary actions will help prevent exposure to any respiratory viruses, including seasonal influenza and Coronavirus:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water (20 seconds of scrubbing) or use alcohol-based hand cleaners (cover all surfaces and rub until dry) if soap and water is not available.
- Cough/sneeze into a tissue. Dispose of used tissues immediately into a trash can. If you don’t have a tissue, cough/sneeze into the crook of your elbow, not your hands.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, which accelerates the spread of infections.
- Avoid close contact with others who are sick.
- If you are sick, avoid contact with others, including large social gatherings, meetings, and events. Consult with a healthcare provider.
As of January 27, 2020, CDC recommends avoiding nonessential travel to China. CDC recommends that if you must travel to China you should discuss it with your healthcare provider first. Older adults and travelers with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease. Travelers to China should remain alert and avoid contact with sick people, animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat). Travelers should wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
*If individuals have traveled to China in the last 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, they should:
- Seek medical care right away. Before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
- Avoid contact with others.
- Do not travel while sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
Resources and More Information
MDPH Clinical Advisory, January 22, 2020.
CDC 2019-nCOv information.
CDC Traveler Advisory 2019-nCOv.
Contact the Health Department at 781-721-7121 or email@example.com.