SOMERVILLE, NJ - The Somerset County Department of Health is working with state and federal health officials to respond to the deadly coronavirus 2019-nCoV, with federal health officials confirming on Friday the second case of the virus in Chicago.
That person returned to the US on Jan. 13 from a trip to Wuhan.
The first case was confirmed in Washington Jan. 21. More than 400 cases have been confirmed worldwide. There have been no deaths in the United States linked to the virus, although at least 17 people have died worldwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Last Thursday, an Edgewater woman with Coronavirus symptoms was examined at a norther New Jersey hospital, was doctors concluded she did not have the virus, according to the New Jersey Dept. of Health.
New Jersey US Senators Corey Booker and Robert Menendez have asked the CDC to add Newark Liberty International Airport to its list of five US airports that are screening passengers for the virus as they arrive on flights from China.
In a joint statement issued Thursday, the senators asked the CDC to “provide resources to all of the major U.S. international airports to screen passengers from China and elsewhere who may have been exposed to the Novel Coronavirus,”
Those airports where screening has been instituted include JFK International Airport in New York City, Chicago’s O'Hare International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport and San Francisco International Airport.
The SCDOH is the lead county agency to coordinate public health disease response, in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), local hospitals, medical providers, and emergency medical services.
While the CDC considers the coronavirus 2019-nCoV to be a serious public health concern, based on current information, the immediate health risk from the 2019-nCoV to the American public is considered low at this time, according to the CDC.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. There are several known coronaviruses that infect people and these usually only cause mild respiratory diseases, such as the common cold, according to the CDC.
The coronavirus can cause fever, cough and shortness of breath and can develop into pneumonia.
There are currently no proven treatments or vaccines for this respiratory disease, so it is important to contact your doctor if you have traveled and are experiencing any of these symptoms.
The SCDOH is working with healthcare providers and other health departments to quickly identify any cases within the county that may be related to the 2019-nCoV outbreak. The SCDOH is taking proactive preparedness precautions by monitoring the situation, enhancing disease surveillance, working with area healthcare providers, and keeping the public informed. The most up-to-date information will be made available on the SCDOH website at www.co.somerset.nj.us/health.
Since it is cold and flu season, you may experience similar symptoms to the coronavirus. Unless you have traveled to the affected areas in the world, there is little concern for exposure to 2019-nCoV. As with all respiratory illnesses, it is good practice to wash your hands often, stay away from people that appear ill, or have been ill and stay home if you are sick.
For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov
The Chinese government has quarantined Wuhan, sealing off its airport and public transportation systems to prevent the spread of the virus.
Wuhan and Beijing are among the cities that have banned large celebrations of the Lunar New Year, the most important holiday on the Chinese calendar. The week-long period begins Friday and includes millions traveling to their hometowns for festivals.
For more information about the current outbreak in China, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. For travel health information, visithttps://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/watch/pneumonia-china.