Local health officials monitoring coronavirus | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Local health officials monitoring coronavirus

Test tube with blood sample for coronavirus test.
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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — People around the world are worried about the coronavirus and while it hasn’t appeared at Lake Tahoe, local health officials are prepared if it does.

Coronavirus is a respiratory illness that first appeared in Wuhan, China in early December 2019.

The CDC has released a travel notice urging people to avoid nonessential travel to the People’s Republic of China.

According to Business Insider, six cases have been confirmed in California, one in San Francisco.

“El Dorado County health officials are monitoring the situation,” said Dr. Nancy Williams, Health Officer for El Dorado County. “We are coordinating with local healthcare providers and following guidance from the California Department of Public Health to ensure that preventive measures are in place. While the situation is evolving, the risk throughout the U.S. is currently low.”

Barton Health is also closely monitoring the virus.

“Barton Health works closely with the California Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control to monitor the coronavirus and is prepared to address the virus should it arise,” said Nicole Fitzpatrick, MPH, RN, CIC, Infection Control Manager for Barton Health. “Enhanced screening is being conducted at all of Barton’s medical offices, and isolation protocols go into effect if a patient presents with coronavirus symptoms and screens accordingly.”

If a patient does have the virus, Barton would notify the local county health department and they would oversee care of the patient.

However, the virus can be avoided if people practice prevention methods. The CDC likens coronavirus to the flu. So both Barton and El Dorado County advise people to take similar precautions as if they were dealing with flu such as staying home when you’re sick, washing your hands frequently with soap and water, cover your mouth and face if you cough or sneeze and get a flu shot.

To keep track of the virus, visit http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

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