In December 2019, Chinese health officials announced they were investigating a pneumonia outbreak of unknown etiology (cause) in the city of Wuhan, China. At that time, it was reported that many of the cases were linked to a seafood and animal market in Wuhan. Since then, health officials have reported that the outbreak was caused by a novel coronavirus, which was later named 2019-nCoV. 

Since then, hundreds of cases have been reported in China and some cases have been fatal. Cases of 2019-nCoV have been identified elsewhere in China, and in other countries, including in the United States. While a majority of cases have been linked to the city of Wuhan, there is evidence of person-to-person spread both inside and outside of Wuhan. With international travel and like previous outbreaks, coronavirus has spread to other nations and states.

The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) on January 27, reported that a Maryland resident met the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) criteria for testing for 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). This individual is in good condition and is being monitored while awaiting test results, to be reported by the CDC laboratory. As of today, there five know cases in the United States and 92 cases under review.

Licensed medical professionals working in skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers have training and protocols in infectious disease triage and care; and are to follow guidelines on the Coronavirus from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Symptoms of coronavirus include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. It seems to be affecting those with chronic illness more severely than previously healthy people, there have been multiple deaths of treating healthcare professionals.

There are many viruses in the coronavirus family that can cause illness in both humans and animals. Several coronaviruses commonly circulate among people all of the time, and cause mild to moderate illnesses, such as the common cold. Other coronaviruses commonly circulate only in animals. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people as has been seen with MERS and SARS.

In alignment with the Maryland Department of Health Letter to Clinicians:
“In line with CDC guidance, we recommend the following:
(1) Ask all patients about recent travel, particularly those with fever and acute respiratory illness.
(2) Immediately report to your local health department any patients who meet criteria for a Patient
Under Investigation (PUI) for 2019-nCoV, or any patient for whom clinical presentation or
exposure history is equivocal.”
HFAM will continue to monitor and collaborate with state and national leaders relative to this outbreak and keep members informed. Continue to follow your infection prevention and control procedures.