Neighbors Emergency Centers is monitoring the Coronavirus closely via the Centers for Disease Control. We understand that news of new diseases can be concerning, so we have compiled the most useful information for our communities.
What is Coronavirus?
A virus identified in Wuhan, China late in 2019, it is officially titled COVID-19. From China, the virus has been confirmed to have spread to 29 countries, including the United States [as of 2/17/20]. It is similar to MERS and SARs, which originated in bats, and has begun spreading from person-to-person. The virus affects respiratory function.
Has Coronavirus reached Houston?
No, the Coronavirus has not been confirmed in the Houston area. The US has 15 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in 7 states, including Washington State, California, Arizona, Texas, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Massachusetts. In Texas, the CDC identified one case in an individual in San Antonio who has been under quarantine at Lackland Air Force Base since their return from China on a State Department-chartered flight. There are currently 60 tests pending from 42 states.
What are the Symptoms?
Because the virus is so new, information is evolving. However, common symptoms are:
- Shortness of breath
These symptoms can appear as early as 2 days or as late as 14 days after exposure.
How Severe is Coronavirus?
The CDC is still analyzing the severity of the virus. Some people have shown little or no symptoms, while others have experienced severe illness or death. The World Health Organization has declared a Public Health Emergency of International concern, which means that the current spread of disease poses a potential public health threat to other nations and requires a coordinated response. As such, the CDC is quarantining airline passengers from China, and taking other precautionary measures to help prevent the spread of disease.
What are Treatment and Prevention Options?
There is currently no specific antiviral treatment or vaccination for COVID – 19. The best options for prevention are to follow standard preventative measures, as you would for cold and flu. These include:
- Washing hands often and thoroughly with soap and water following appropriate hand washing technique.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, especially with unwashed hands.
- Avoid contact with people who are ill.
- Stay home if you are ill.
- Cover your cough or sneeze.
- Clean and disinfect commonly touched objects or surfaces.
In addition, it is highly recommended to avoid any non-essential travel to China. As Neighbors receives more information on Coronavirus, we will keep you up to date.
If you have any questions or would like more information:
DSHS COVID‑19 Call Center: 211
Hours: 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Monday – Friday
For local assistance, see the listing of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID‑19) Local Health Entities