• Coronavirus (2019 - nCoV)

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    February 14, 2020

    Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

    CINCINNATI – An outbreak of a 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has occurred in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China which began in December 2019.

    The only people at risk of illness due to this outbreak are those with fever and symptoms of lower respiratory illness who:

    • In the last 14 days before symptom onset have traveled from Wuhan City, China OR
    • In the last 14 days before symptom onset has had close contact with a person who is under investigation for 2019-nCoV while that person was ill OR
    • In the last 14 days has had close contact with an ill laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV patient

    What is Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)?

    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.

    What are the symptoms for Coronavirus?

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

    • fever
    • cough
    • shortness of breath

    Other early symptoms include:

    • Chills
    • Body aches
    • Sore throat
    • Headache
    • Diarrhea
    • Nausea/ vomiting
    • Runny nose

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes at this time that symptoms of 2019-nCoV may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) viruses.

    How is Coronavirus spread?

    Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Many of the patients in the pneumonia outbreak caused by 2019-nCov in Wuhan, China had some link to a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. However, a growing number of patients reportedly have not had exposure to animal markets, indicating person-to-person spread is occurring. At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people.  

    When person-to-person spread has occurred with MERS and SARS, it is thought to have happened via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. Spread of SARS and MERS between people has generally occurred between close contacts.

    It’s important to note that how easily a virus spreads person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so. It’s not clear yet how easily 2019-nCoV spreads from person-to-person. It’s important to know this in order to better understand the risk associated with this virus.

    There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with 2019-nCoV and investigations are ongoing.

    How can Coronavirus be prevented?

    There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Right now, 2019-nCoV has been confirmed in five United States cases who have returned from travel to Wuhan. As a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

    World Health Organization Prevention Tips

    • 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
    • Stay home when you 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

    These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers.

    Treatment for Coronavirus

    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.

    People who think they may have been exposed to 2019-nCoV should contact your healthcare provider immediately.

    Novel Coronavirus 2019-nCoV Fact Sheet

    Recommendations for Healthcare Providers:



    Limited information is available to characterize the spectrum of clinical illness associated with the outbreak. No vaccine or specific treatment is available; care is supportive.

    Healthcare providers should obtain a detailed travel history for patients being evaluated with fever and acute respiratory illness. This virus is now in more places than Wuhan, China.

    The most important things to do are:

    • Know the symptoms of concern
    • Ask every patient displaying respiratory symptoms a detailed travel history and exposure history
    • Isolate anyone who has positive symptoms and a questionable travel history or exposure, and do appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) immediately
    • Call your local health department immediately. Instructions for obtaining samples will be provided.


    Healthcare providers should immediately notify their local health district in the event of a patient under investigation (PUI) for 2019-nCOV. The Cincinnati Health Department phone number is 513-357-7462, after hours emergency-only number is 877-774-4636.

    The latest situation summary updates are available on CDC’s web page 2019 Novel Coronavirus, Wuhan, China.

    About the Cincinnati Health Department

    Since 1826, the Cincinnati Health Department (CHD) has been committed to protecting and improving the health of the people of Cincinnati.  As a nationally recognized leader in public health, CHD advocates for responsive health and human services that promote healthy living environments and social well-being, as well as works to reduce health inequities such as poverty and unemployment.

    CHD has a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) designation status and serves over 40,000 patients annually.  CHD operates seven Primary Care Health Centers, one free-standing dental center, one free-standing vision and dental center, and thirteen School-Based Health Centers. 

    Cincinnati Health Department