Johnston County Commissioners received an update on the Coronavirus during their monthly meeting held on Monday. County Public Health Director Dr. Marilyn Pearson told Commissioners there had been 11 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus in the United States (as of Monday). None of those known cases were in North Carolina.
The 2019 novel coronavirus is a new virus that causes respiratory illness and can spread from person-to-person. The virus was first indentified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China, according to the CDC.
Currently, the greatest risk of infection is for people in China or people who have traveled to China. Risk of infection is dependent on exposure. Close contacts of people who are infected are at greater risk of exposure, according to the CDC.
Symptoms of the coronavirus include mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough and shortness of breath.
Dr. Pearson said there are everyday preventable actions everyone can take to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. They include avoiding close contact with people who are sick; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available.
If you are sick, to keep from spreading respiratory illnesses to others, stay at home when you are sick, cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
According to the CDC, if you were in China within the past 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should seek medical care. Call the Johnston County Health Department or your health care provider before you go and tell them about your travel and your symptoms.
There is no current vaccine. The best way to prevent being infected is to avoid exposure to the virus.
For more information contact the Johnston County Public Health Department at 919-989-5200.