Douglas County health department says it’s continuing to monitor coronavirus amid growing fears

photo by: CDC

This map from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows confirmed COVID-19 cases throughout the world as of Thursday morning, Feb. 27, 2020.

Linda Craig, the Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health director of clinic services, said Wednesday the department is continuing to monitor global concerns about the spread of the coronavirus respiratory disease.

It’s important for folks to be aware of the virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, as the potential health threat is high both globally and in the United States, Craig said. At the same time, she said, an individual’s risk of contracting the virus depends on exposure.

“For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from (coronavirus) is low,” she said.

Kansas currently has no confirmed cases of the disease, also known as COVID-19, and has had no people under investigation since a patient presented possible symptoms of the disease at Lawrence Memorial Hospital in January before testing revealed they did not have coronavirus.

Anyone who has traveled, or has family members who recently traveled to the destinations flagged by the CDC as susceptible to a wider-spread impact of the disease, and is experiencing symptoms of fever and congestion should see their medical provider, Craig said.

Before arriving, she said, it’s vitally important to inform the office of recent travel history.

Other steps people can take include normal measures to avoid any respiratory disease, such as avoiding contact with people who are sick, not touching your eyes or mouth with unwashed hands, washing your hands often and coughing into the crook of your arm.

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