Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Updated February 14, 2020
Public health officials are closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
According to the CDC, the immediate threat to the general American public is low at this time. Most confirmed U.S. cases have a history of travel to Wuhan, China, which is the epicenter of the outbreak. The CDC reported the first confirmed instance of person-to-person spread with this virus on January 30, 2020. While person-to-person spread among close contacts has been detected with this virus, at this time this virus is NOT currently spreading in the community in the United States. The CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China.
What is Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)?
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus, officially named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization, is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Learn about COVID-19.
How does the virus spread?
This virus originally emerged from an animal source but has now been monitored spreading from person-to-person. It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum. Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so. At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people. Person-to-person spreading has been identified in the United States, with the first instance confirmed on January 30, 2020. In general, coronaviruses spread through:
- Coughing or sneezing;
- Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands;
- Touching a surface with virus, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.
What are the symptoms and complications that COVID-19 can cause?
Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Read about Coronavirus Disease 2019 Symptoms.
How can I help protect myself?
Visit the Prevention and Treatment page to learn about how to protect yourself from respiratory illnesses, like COVID-19. CDC also recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China. There are no additional precautions recommended for the general public to take. As with any respiratory virus, you can protect yourself and others by taking every day preventative actions:
- Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
What should I do if I had close contact with someone who has COVID-19?
There is information for people who have had close contact with a person confirmed to have, or being evaluated for, COVID-19 infection available online.
Is it safe to travel to China or other countries where COVID-19 cases have occurred?
The situation is evolving. Stay up to date with CDC’s travel health notices related to this outbreak. These notices will be updated as more information becomes available. CDC does have additional specific guidance for travelers available online.
What is THD doing about COVID-19?
The Tulsa Health Department (THD) along with Oklahoma State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring this outbreak. Local public health experts in Oklahoma are communicating with and educating health care providers and other public health partners about the current situation. Infection control and isolation protocols are already in place to prevent the spread of illness in Oklahoma. There are no confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV in Oklahoma at this time. You can view updated numbers regarding test results from persons under investigation in Oklahoma here. The CDC reported the first confirmed instance of person-to-person spread with this virus on January 30, 2020. While person-to-person spread among close contacts has been detected with this virus, at this time this virus is NOT currently spreading in the community in the United States.
It is also flu season and health officials recommend receiving your annual flu shot, taking everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs and taking flu antivirals if prescribed. See our Flu Page for more information.