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Public Safety Alert: Coronavirus Outbreak

Thursday, February 13, 2020
updated Feb. 19, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to monitor an outbreak caused by a coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. The virus strain, previously called the 2019 Novel (New) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) and now called COVID-19, has been confirmed in over 70,000 cases worldwide with over 1,800 confirmed deaths. The increase in cases has slowed recently, but a formal peak in the outbreak has not been confirmed. There have been no confirmed cases of human-to-human spread in the US.

The first case in the United States was announced on Jan. 21, 2020, in Washington State and there are now 29 confirmed cases in the U.S., in Washington State, California, Arizona, Illinois, Wisconsin, Texas and New York. For more information, visit the state-specific Department of Health websites.  

For the most up-to-date information, visit the CDC’s website. Find additional details at www.health.mil and www.defense.gov/Explore/Spotlight/Coronavirus.  
 

If you have traveled to affected countries and may have been exposed and you develop flu-like symptoms:

  • Seek medical advice – Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms. If your primary doctor is not available, TRICARE beneficiaries can go to any TRICARE-authorized urgent care center or if necessary, an emergency department. (If unsure, contact the Military Health System’s Nurse Advice Line.) Learn more at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/steps-when-sick.html
  • Avoid contact with others and do not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Only wear a facemask if a healthcare professional recommends it. The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory viruses, including COVID-19. Learn more at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html.
    • A facemask should be used by people who have been exposed to COVID-19 and are showing symptoms of the virus. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected. 
    • The use of facemasks also is crucial for health workers and other people who are taking care of someone infected with COVID-19 in close settings. 
    • A run on face masks can cause shortages for people who may actually benefit from them.
  • Contact your local public health department as soon as practical.  


For those planning travel to abroad to affected countries:

  • View the CDC’s current travel notice: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/watch/novel-coronavirus-china.  
  • Avoid sick people, sick or dead animals and animal markets. 
  • Wash hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. 
  • Older travelers and those with underlying health condition: Consult with your primary care provider prior to travel, as you are at an increased risk.
  • Only wear a facemask if a health care professional recommends it. The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory viruses, including COVID-19. Learn more at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html.
    • A facemask should be used by people who have been exposed to COVID-19 and are showing symptoms of the virus. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected.
    • The use of facemasks also is crucial for health workers and other people who are taking care of someone infected with COVID-19 in close settings (at home or in a health care facility). 
    • A run on face masks can cause shortages for people who may actually benefit from them.


For travelers already in Wuhan or other affected countries where the virus may be present.

  • If you begin to feel sick with cough, fever or difficulty breathing, seek medical care immediately. If possible, call ahead to warn the facility about your recent travel and symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others and do not travel while sick. 
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or garment sleeve (not your hands) when coughing and sneezing. 
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Only wear a facemask if a health care professional recommends it. The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory viruses, including COVID-19. Learn more at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html.
    • A facemask should be used by people who have been exposed to COVID-19 and are showing symptoms of the virus. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected. 
    • The use of facemasks also is crucial for health workers and other people who are taking care of someone infected with COVID-19 in close settings (at home or in a health care facility). 
    • A run on face masks can cause shortages for people who may actually benefit from them.


For travelers returning from areas with the virus.

The US has suspended entry into the US of foreign nationals who have been in China within the past 14 days. US citizens, residents and their immediate family members who have been in Hubei province and other parts of mainland China are allowed to enter the United States, but they are subject to health monitoring and possible quarantine for up to 14 days.  Travelers will be redirected to one of 11 US airports with CDC quarantine stations for evaluation. You may be quarantined depending on your health and travel history.

United States residents who travel to other countries where this outbreak has occurred may be screened upon re-entry to the US. 

The following military installations have been selected as potential U.S. quarantine sites: March Air Reserve Base and Travis Air Force Base in California; Fort Carson in Colorado; Lackland Air Force Base in Texas; and Camp Ashland in Nebraska. Quarantine sites are separated from the normal base operations and personnel. Some additional sites that may be used for quarantine operations include: Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii; Great Lakes Training Center Navy Base in Illinois; Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Texas; Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Georgia; Fort Hamilton in New York; Naval Base Kitsap in Washington; Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C.; Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey; and Fort Custer Training Center in Michigan.

 

 

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html