Infection Prevention Update: Coronavirus

The CDC is monitoring a respiratory virus that originated in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. Most coronaviruses are not dangerous, they can cause an infection in the nose, sinuses or upper throat, but they can also cause more severe illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia.

Although the transmission patterns of 2019-nCoV are not clearly understood, the CDC recommends heightened infection prevention and control measures including the use of personal protective equipment and specific isolation precautions. It is important to watch for symptoms and follow infection prevention protocols to reduce chances of exposure. 


Prevention Tips

  •  Wash your hands often, for 60 seconds, with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
  •  Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
  •  Avoid close contact with people who are sick

Watch for these symptoms: runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, fever and a general ill feeling.

Stay home if you have cold-like symptoms. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands. Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that you touch. Avoid close contact with others and stay home while you are sick. Drink plenty of liquids and get extra rest. Contact your health provider with any concerns.

The situation is still rapidly evolving and recommendations are subject to change as additional information becomes available. We will continue to provide updates as important information is released.  Here is the most current information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


2019 Novel Coronavirus FAQs

Reviewed by: Infection Prevention Specialist, Rosine Angbanzan, MPH

What is the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. It was first discovered in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

What are the symptoms and complications that 2019-nCoV can cause?
Common symptoms often reported by patients with 2019-NCoV include mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

What kills the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?
Washing your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or with soap and water, and drying hands thoroughly using paper towels or a warm air dryer. These do not kill the virus: Using UV lamps; spraying your body with alcohol or chlorine.

How long does it take for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus to make you sick?
It takes between 2 and 10 days before people who are infected become sick and develop a fever.

Can packages mailed from China give me the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?
No. People receiving packages from China are not at risk of contracting the 2019 Novel Coronavirus because it does not survive long on objects, such as letters or packages.

Can my house pet get 2019 Novel Coronavirus and give it to me?
Currently, there is no evidence that pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. Always wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets to prevent your pet from passing common bacteria such as E.coli and Salmonella to you.

I had the pneumonia vaccine, does it protect me against the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?
No. Currently there is no vaccine for 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

Does using a nasal rinse or mouth wash protect me against the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?
No. Using nasal rinses regularly helps manage allergy symptoms and help you recover more quickly from the common cold. There is no evidence that mouthwash protects you from 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

Does eating garlic help protect me from the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?
Garlic does have some antimicrobial properties, but there is no evidence that eating garlic can protect you from the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

Does sesame seed oil on my skin block the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?

What age groups are most susceptible to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?
People with medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and heart disease, and older people are more vulnerable to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, but anyone of any age can be infected. Protect yourself by using good hand and respiratory hygiene.

Can antibiotics prevent and treat the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?
No, antibiotics are only an effective treatment for bacterial infections. Some patients who are hospitalized for the 2019-nCoV, may receive antibiotics for possible bacterial co-infection.

What can I do to prevent getting sick from 2019 Novel Coronavirus?

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, especially with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are showing symptoms of illness
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • Cover your cough or sneezes with a tissue or cough into your elbow
  • Stay home when you sick