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The original item was published from 1/27/2020 2:24:21 PM to 1/28/2020 12:00:00 AM.

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Posted on: January 27, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Lamont: Connecticut closely monitoring coronavirus outbreak in China

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today said that the State of Connecticut is continuing to closely monitor the outbreak of coronavirus in China after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced several confirmed cases in the United States, none of which are in Connecticut.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) has two persons under investigation for the new coronavirus, one in Middlesex County who is a student at Wesleyan University and the other in New Haven County. The Wesleyan student has tested negative for coronavirus. Both persons have tested positive for influenza type A and the cause of their illness is most likely the flu. As a precaution, both persons remain in isolation. DPH is awaiting final testing results for coronavirus at the CDC for the New Haven County patient. At the present time, testing for this new coronavirus strain is only available at the CDC.

“The state is closely monitoring reported cases and remaining cautious on behalf of the public,” Governor Lamont said. “We want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to provide updated information on these developments to the people of our state. We ask that the public not panic but take possible symptoms seriously and consult a healthcare professional.”

“I want to assure all residents of Connecticut that we are taking this new virus very seriously and have been closely coordinating our response with local health departments and medical providers throughout the state,” DPH Commissioner Renée D. Coleman-Mitchell said. “So far, we have no confirmed cases of this coronavirus in Connecticut. It is also the height of the flu season, and hundreds of Connecticut residents have already been hospitalized for influenza. I want to make sure everyone takes precautions to keep themselves healthy during this season, and if you experience any symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, fever or others, please contact your doctor and get treated sooner rather than later.”

“I urge the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to declare a public health emergency so we can ensure that the Center for Disease Control is able to access the additional funding it may need to expedite the development of a vaccine and to prepare to contain any outbreak in our country,” Senator Richard Blumenthal said. “The recent coronavirus strain exploding in China has resulted in many deaths and therefore proactive steps must be taken at the federal and state levels. My office is in constant contact with Connecticut state public health officials and I stand ready to assist state officials to protect the health of Connecticut residents.”

Connecticut is at the height of respiratory virus season. Influenza activity in Connecticut is widespread. A total of 784 influenza-associated hospitalizations have been reported since the beginning of the 2019-20 season. Seven new influenza-associated deaths were reported last week, resulting in a total of 20 influenza-associated deaths reported since the beginning of the 2019-20 season.

CDC believes at this time that symptoms of the coronavirus may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. No vaccine or specific treatment for the infection is available, however care is supportive. 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, like how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. Spread of SARS and MERS between people has generally occurred between close contacts.

Symptoms of the coronavirus may include:

• Runny nose

• Headache

• Cough

• Sore throat

• Fever

• A general feeling of being unwell

The CDC recommends that individuals avoid all nonessential travel to Wuhan, China, but has provided specifics for those who are still planning a trip to Wuhan and for individuals who have recently returned from that city and may be experiencing the above symptoms. While there is currently no vaccine for this coronavirus, everyday preventative actions can help stop the spread of this and other 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

• 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

Individuals who are experiencing symptoms and may have traveled to areas of concern or have been in contact with somebody who has traveled to these areas should call ahead to their healthcare provider before presenting for treatment.

The most recent guidance from the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) about the outbreak of a new coronavirus in China is available here.

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