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Bladen County Health Department has been studious the past several days on the emerging Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The epidemiology team here has been in attendance to every conference call and situational briefing by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, China. Coronaviruses that commonly circulate in the United States cause symptoms similar to the flu and typically cause mild to moderate respiratory illness.

Common symptoms include: runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, fever, shortness of breath.

The first case in the United States was announced Jan. 21, 2020 in Washington state, and to date, there are five confirmed cases in the United States. There are ongoing investigations by the CDC to learn more. So far, there are no confirmed cases in North Carolina.

The risk to the general public in North Carolina is considered low at this time. NCDHHS is providing guidance to state and local health agencies, health care providers and the general public regarding this rapidly evolving outbreak investigation. This guidance is available on the Division of Public Health’s 2019-nCoV website.

The risk to the general public in North Carolina, especially without history of travel to China, is considered very low at this time. As such, no additional precautions are recommended for the general public.

Dr. Terri Duncan, Health and Human Service Director said, “If each one of us takes the necessary steps to prevent the spread of flu we can prevent the spread of any respiratory virus.”

Dr. Duncan also recommends following preventive measures advised by the CDC:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  •  Avoid exposure to others who are sick.
  •  Stay home when you are ill.

This is a rapidly evolving situation. Bladen County Health Department along with NCDHHS will continue to monitor the situation in coordination with the CDC. People who have questions or concerns related to 2019- nCoV can call 866-462-3821 for more information. There are also resources available on the DPH website at epi.dph.ncdhhs.gov/cd/diseases/2019nCoV.html and on the CDC’s website
at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

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