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2019 Novel Coronavirus Information

Post Date:02/04/2020


 From the Westwood Board of Health 

February 3, 2020

2019 Novel Coronavirus in Massachusetts 

On February 1, 2020 the first Massachusetts case of 2019 novel coronavirus was confirmed.  Please read the following information for facts about the virus and what you can do to protect yourself and your families.

 What is 2019 novel coronavirus?

The 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a new strain of coronavirus, first detected in Wuhan, China.  Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV) are examples of coronaviruses

How is the 2019 novel coronavirus spread?

It is believed 2019 novel coronavirus can be transmitted person-to-person via respiratory droplets from an infected person entering the body of another person through the eyes, nose or mouth. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, the virus becomes airborne where it can infect a new host.  It is also believed if droplets land on a surface or object it can be picked up by a new host through physical contact if that person touches their mouth, nose, or eyes.  It is not yet clear how easily this virus is spreading between people. This route of transmission is similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. 

What are the signs and symptoms of the 2019 novel coronavirus?

Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. In severe cases, infection can cause bronchitis, pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. Symptoms of 2019 Novel Coronavirus may be similar to the flu.  Older adults and people with underlying health conditions may be at increased risk for severe complications from this virus.

How can the 2019 novel coronavirus be prevented?

There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019 novel coronavirus infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid exposure to the virus. The CDC always recommends standard precautions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, thoroughly dry your hands after washing (use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available)
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
  • Staying home when you are sick.
  • Covering your cough or sneeze.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.

What should I do if I am sick with respiratory illness?

  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Avoid close contact with others
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects or surfaces

People who think they may have been exposed to 2019 novel coronavirus should contact their health care provider immediately. Before you go to a health care provider's office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.

How is the 2019 novel coronavirus treated?

There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for the 2019 novel coronavirus.  People infected with 2019 novel coronavirus can receive medical care to help relieve symptoms.

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