HARRISBURG – Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine on Monday reminded Pennsylvanians that the threat from 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) remains low. While there have been 11 confirmed cases in the United States, there are no confirmed cases in Pennsylvania currently.
“We are in constant communication with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and are prepared to respond in the case that someone in Pennsylvania tests positive for coronavirus,” said Levine.
“It’s important to remember that the most accurate and timely information regarding this outbreak is available through our Web site, health.pa.gov, and our Facebook and Twitter, as well as the CDC’s Web site and social media channels. At this time our risk remains low, and we encourage you to monitor our website and our social media.”
As the Wolf Administration and the Department of Health continue to monitor the coronavirus outbreak occurring in China and cases in the United States, the administration emphasized that Asian American/Pacific Islander individuals are at no higher of a risk of carrying the coronavirus than any other individual.
“We deeply appreciate the Department of Health’s efforts to educate the commonwealth about the very real public health issue coronavirus presents, as well its commitment to combating misinformation about its origins,” said Mohan Seshadri, executive director of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs.
“Too often, national security and public health crises have led to the demonization of particular groups of people, and we are committed to ensuring that that does not happen here.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with our fellow Americans and those in China fighting the virus, as well as with our Chinese American community members worried for their families.”
“Remember, you are much more likely to become sick with the cold or flu, than to be diagnosed with coronavirus,” Levine said. “Since October, there have been more than 45,000 diagnosed cases of flu and 33 deaths in Pennsylvania alone.
“Our friends and neighbors of Chinese descent are important members of our community and are not at an increased risk to spreading the coronavirus.”
The novel coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China in December of 2019. The majority of the cases have occurred in China, but have also spread to other countries, most of them associated with travel from Wuhan.
While originally thought to be spreading from animal-to-person, information shows there is some person-to-person spread occurring.
Symptoms of the 2019-nCOV can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. The symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.
Anyone who does not feel well should:
- Cover any coughs or sneezes with their elbow, not their hands.
- Clean surfaces frequently, such as countertops, light switches, cell phones and other frequently touched areas.
- Contain– if someone is sick, they should stay home until they are feeling better.
If you have traveled to China in the last 14 days, or come into direct contact with someone who has, and feel sick with fever, cough or have difficulty breathing, you should seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.