NEWS | February 6, 2020

VIDEO: Information about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus

At UC Davis Health, the safety of our patients, visitors, staff and physicians is our top priority at all times. We are rigorously monitoring the coronavirus outbreak, which has been declared a global health emergency and has triggered new travel and quarantine measures.

We are taking steps to ensure the safety and security of the UC Davis Health community, patients and visitors. As part of our preparedness for the novel coronavirus, we have placed “Health Alert” signage near entrances to the hospital and clinics. UC Davis Health, like other providers around the nation, is asking simple screening questions to proactively identify individuals who may be at risk of coronavirus.

Our skilled and experienced care teams are trained to identify and handle any suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus. While the risk for infection appears to be low, our infectious disease teams are working closely with local and state health authorities and taking all the steps necessary to ensure safety of everyone within our medical center and other UC Davis Health clinics and facilities.


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What is the 2019 novel coronavirus?
The novel coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, is part of a family of viruses that our care teams are very familiar with. Coronaviruses cause respiratory tract infections, including the common cold, and more serious infections like SARS. Symptoms start out like any other cold: fever, runny nose, cough and overall just feeling bad. It can progress and cause more severe illness like pneumonia, which can be fatal.

What are the symptoms?
If you have traveled from China in the past 21 days and develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, call your healthcare provider and mention your recent travel.

When should I seek emergency care?
Unless it is an immediate life-threatening condition, there is no need to come to the Emergency Department without first contacting your healthcare provider. If you have had close contact with someone who recently traveled from China and is showing symptoms of fever and respiratory illness, you should also call your healthcare provider and mention your close contact with a traveler from China.

Is there a test for the new coronavirus?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has developed a test for the novel coronavirus, so anybody who meets the criteria for being at risk – fever, respiratory illness, travel or close contact with a traveler from China – will be tested. Currently, local emergency rooms cannot test for the coronavirus. UC Davis Health and other providers will be working with county and state public health departments, and the CDC, to determine if someone needs to be tested for the novel coronavirus.


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How can I protect myself and my family?
The best way for people to protect themselves is to try not to be around sick people. Much is unknown about how the new coronavirus spreads. However, coronaviruses typically are spread from person-to-person when in close contact (about 6 feet). Person-to-person spread is thought to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, which is how influenza and other respiratory illnesses spread.

The best way to protect your health is by practicing preventive measures, such as consistent handwashing and getting a flu shot to help prevent illness and symptoms that have been linked to the novel coronavirus.

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes!
    So, it’s very important to use respiratory etiquette – meaning, if you’re sick, cover your coughs and sneezes with your arm. Sick people should stay at home and avoid being around others.
  • Wash your hands!
    Good hand hygiene is crucial for keeping you and your family healthy. Wash your hands often with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand gels.
  • What about masks?
    Public health officials do not recommend that people wear masks unless they are actually sick. As with many contagious viruses, the key is to prevent the spread of respiratory droplets from an infected person. Save the use of facemasks for those who truly need them.

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