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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
In response to the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) in China and around the world, I wanted to take a few moments to share some basic information on how to keep you and your loved ones healthy.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, there have been over 80,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus globally. The coronavirus can be spread directly between humans. Symptoms can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
There is currently no vaccine to fight this strain of coronavirus, but the CDC recommends some basic steps to help protect you and your loved ones, just as you would during any flu season.
While the CDC says that the vast majority of Americans have low risk of exposure, I believe it is important for the government to take necessary precautions to ensure our nation is prepared. As new information surfaces every day, I encourage you to follow the CDC’s webpage to receive the most truthful and up to date information.
The safety of you and your loved ones is of the utmost importance. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call my District office at 330-373-0074.
Congressman Tim Ryan
Please read below for more information and recommendations from the CDC on preventative measures you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones from contagious respiratory illnesses like the coronavirus or flu.
What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
CDC is responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a new coronavirus that was first detected in China and which has now been detected in 60 locations internationally, including in the United States.
Both MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV have been known to cause severe illness in people. The complete clinical picture with regard to COVID-19 is not fully understood. Reported illnesses have ranged from mild to severe, including illness resulting in death. While information so far suggests that most COVID-19 illness is mild, a reportexternal icon out of China suggests serious illness occurs in 16% of cases. Older people and people with certain underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example, seem to be at greater risk of serious illness.
Learn more about the symptoms associated with COVID-19. There are ongoing investigations to learn more. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.
Situation in US:
- Click here for an up-to-date report on current cases in the US.
- Person-to-person spread of COVID-19 was first reported among close contacts of returned travelers from Wuhan.
- During the week of February 23, CDC reported community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 in California (in two places), Oregon and Washington. Community spread in Washington resulted in the first death in the United States from COVID-19, as well as the first reported case of COVID-19 in a health care worker, and the first potential outbreak in a long-term care facility.
Current risk assessment:
- For most of the American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.
- People in communities where ongoing community spread with the virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported are at elevated, though still relatively low risk of exposure.
- Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure.
- Close contacts of persons with COVID-19 also are at elevated risk of exposure.
- Travelers returning from affected international locations where community spread is occurring also are at elevated risk of exposure.
CDC has developed guidance to help in the risk assessment and management of people with potential exposures to COVID-19.
There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19. Preventing exposure is the best way to avoid illness. However, the CDC is encouraging all Americans to take the following everyday preventive actions, much like you would during a standard severe flu season.
It is critical to remember that adherence to these simple practices could save lives:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- 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 using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others, as well as by health care workers those taking care of someone with COVID-19.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
According to the CDC, if you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, within 14 days after travel from China, you should call ahead to a healthcare professional and mention your recent travel or close contact. If you have had close contact with someone showing these symptoms who has recently traveled from this area, you should call ahead to a healthcare professional and mention your close contact and their recent travel. Your healthcare professional will work with your state’s public health department and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19. Should you find yourself or a loved one in this position, the CDC has issued the following recommendations:
- Stay home except to get medical care.
- Separate yourself from people and animals.
- Call ahead and inform your health care provider about your exposure or suspected exposure so that they can protect other patients before your arrival.
- Wear a facemask.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes.
- Clean your hands and “high-touch” surfaces.
- Avoid sharing personal items.
- Monitor your symptoms.
Health experts are working hard to understand this strain of coronavirus. Because new information surfaces every day, the following sites may be useful for staying up to date on relevant developments.