DPH Working to Identify and Prevent Spread of Coronavirus in Georgia

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ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is closely monitoring the outbreak
of 2019-nCoV (coronavirus) occurring in China and regularly coordinating with the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention. DPH has not confirmed any novel (new) coronavirus cases to
date, however the situation could change.

DPH is advising healthcare providers statewide to be alert for patients who have traveled from
Wuhan, China and present with fever and respiratory symptoms. The Department sent out a
detailed medical advisory to healthcare providers on reporting, testing, specimen collection and
healthcare infection control recommendations for potential coronavirus cases. Healthcare
providers who suspect 2019-nCoV infection in a patient should report them immediately to DPH
by calling 1-866-PUB-HLTH (1-866-782-4584).

To detect possible cases of coronavirus infection early and prevent further spread, the United
States began actively screening incoming travelers from Wuhan at five select airports, including
Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta. DPH has protocols for transport, evaluation
and testing of potential coronavirus patients, and will work with the airport quarantine station to
facilitate and coordinate referrals.

This outbreak of coronavirus began in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and continues to
spread. The outbreak now includes hundreds of confirmed infections and a growing number of
deaths in several countries. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing
respiratory illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats and
bats. The beginning of this outbreak has been linked to a large seafood and animal market in
Wuhan. A growing number of patients reportedly have not had exposure to the animal markets
and many healthcare workers have become infected, indicating person to person spread is
occurring.

Because this is a novel coronavirus, we do not know everything about it yet. Based on patients
with confirmed coronavirus, symptoms include fever and signs of lower respiratory illness (e.g.,
cough, shortness of breath); case-patients also develop pneumonia. The CDC says symptoms
may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 after exposure. There is currently no specific
antiviral treatment for 2019-nCoV infection or vaccine to prevent coronavirus infection.
Currently there are two confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States (Illinois and
Washington) and more cases are expected. The CDC says the overall risk of coronavirus to the
general public is low, but the best way to prevent infection of any respiratory virus is:

• 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.

• Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue to cover it, then throw the tissue in the
trash.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
For more information about coronavirus, log on to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

Guidance for travelers can be found at
https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/watch/novel-coronavirus-china.

About the Georgia Department of Public Health
The Georgia Department of Public Health is the lead agency in preventing disease, injury and
disability; promoting health and well-being; and preparing for and responding to disasters from a
health perspective. For more information about DPH, visit www.dph.ga.gov.

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