2019 Novel Coronavirus Information

What is a coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

What is a novel coronavirus?

A novel coronavirus (CoV) is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus (more specifically, a coronavirus) identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in December of 2019.

What is the most recent information about 2019-nCoV?

2019-nCoV has since been identified outside of China, in a growing number of countries, including the United States. The first US case was identified on January 21, 2020 and the second case was announced on January 24, 2020. Both cases reported travel to the Wuhan Province in China and neither reside in NYS. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring the outbreak caused by the novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. For the latest information about 2019-nCoV, visit the CDC 2019 Novel Coronavirus, Wuhan, China webpage.

How are coronaviruses spread?

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Since the 2019-nCoV is newly identified, it is being carefully studied by health officials to determine how it is spreading. Some coronaviruses have previously been transmitted person-to-person after close contact with an infected individual. There is more to learn about the 2019-nCoV. Health authorities are continuing to watch how the virus spreads, and the PCDOH will update this site as new information becomes available.

What are the symptoms?

Patients with confirmed 2019-nCoV infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness similar to pneumonia, with symptoms of:

  • fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath

What can travelers do to protect themselves?

  • The CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Wuhan, China. Chinese officials have closed transport within and out of Wuhan, including buses, subways, trains, and the international airport. If you must travel:
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Older adults and travelers with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease and should discuss travel to Wuhan with their healthcare provider.

What should I do if I (or someone I know) traveled to Wuhan, China?  

If you recently traveled to Wuhan or have been in close contact with someone who has confirmed novel coronavirus 2019 and you feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should:

  • Seek medical care right away. Before you go to the doctor’s office or emergency room, you must call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Is there treatment for 2019-nCoV?

There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for 2019-nCoV infection. People infected with 2019-nCoV should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.

What can I do to protect myself?

There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. We recommend everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who 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.