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2019 Novel Coronavirus

Chinese authorities identified the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which has resulted in more than a thousand confirmed cases in China, including cases outside Wuhan City. Additional cases have been identified in a growing number of other international locations, including the United States. There are ongoing investigations to learn more.

Here are some frequently asked questions about the coronavirus to address any concerns our community may have.

What is the 2019 novel coronavirus?

In December 2019, a new virus was found to have caused an outbreak of a cold-like illness in China. The outbreak has been linked to an animal and seafood market and has been found in people who have traveled to and from China or who had direct contact with someone who was ill with 2019 novel coronavirus. The majority of cases have been in China but the virus has been found in returning travelers from other countries, including the United States and, specifically, Orange and Los Angeles counties.

How likely am I to get the 2019 novel coronavirus compared to a regular cold?

Your risk for exposure to the common cold or the flu is far greater than to this new coronavirus. It is important to recognize that you can’t get the 2019 novel coronavirus without having traveled to an area where it is actively spreading or without an exposure to someone with the virus.

How do I know if I’ve been exposed to the 2019 novel coronavirus?

Again, your risk for exposure to the common cold or the flu is far greater than to this new coronavirus. You are only considered exposed if you have:

  • Traveled to China within the past 14 days OR
  • Had direct contact with an ill person under investigation for 2019 novel coronavirus in the past 14 days

What are the symptoms of 2019 novel coronavirus?

Symptoms can range from a very mild cold/flu-like illness to severe lung infection (e.g., pneumonia). Severe symptoms are more likely in those with underlying medical conditions, such as chronic heart or lung disease, or conditions that cause weakened immune systems (such as patients with cancer requiring chemotherapy).

The symptoms of 2019 novel coronavirus often include:

  • Fever (temperature higher than 99 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

How does 2019 novel coronavirus spread?

This virus likely spread initially from animals to humans, but appears able to be spread from person-to-person in those who have had close and direct contact with people who are sick with the virus (e.g., coughing, sneezing), similar to how the flu and the common cold can spread.

What can I do to protect myself?

Currently, there is no vaccine for 2019 novel coronavirus.

Follow these basic steps that can go a long way in protecting you and others from virus infections:

  • Clean your hands frequently (waterless alcohol hand rub or hand washing)
  • 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

Where can I get more information?

Information about the 2019 novel coronavirus is changing as we continue to learn more about the outbreak. For the most up to date information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

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