It's hard to read about the new
and not feel concerned. I feel for the people already affected by the virus, and I worry about its spread, including to California.
One of their main messages is that there is no need to panic! People in Contra Costa County are at low risk for getting the virus, unless they've recently been to China.
The virus is spreading, with a few cases in the Bay Area, but it is still extremely rare outside of China. As of today, 12 people have been diagnosed with the coronavirus in the U.S., and no one has died. No one has been diagnosed with the virus in Contra Costa County.
The other important message is that we should all practice standard virus prevention steps to help prevent the spread of the corona and all viruses.
These steps are:
- Washing hands with soap and water frequently.
- Avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
- Staying away from work, school or other people if you become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough.
What is the coronavirus?
Coronavirus is in a family of upper respiratory viruses similar to the common cold, but some strains of coronavirus can be more severe, such as what we experienced with SARS in 2003.
The coronavirus is a new source of illness for humans and presents a concerning public health issue for the United States and the global community. This is primarily because, as a new virus, we humans have not yet developed a natural immunity to it and not necessarily because the virus itself is highly virulent.
When should you see a doctor?
If you get flu-like symptoms such as a fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, and weakness see a doctor.
This is urgent if you have recently traveled in China or spent time with people who have recently been in China.
Medical experts globally are monitoring the virus and studying how best to treat and prevent it.
The County Health Department's
is posting regular coronavirus updates.
The Health Department also has an info phone line:
If you or a family member are having a medical emergency call 911.