SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Health officials throughout the Bay Area are reminding residents how to take precaution against the coronavirus, which has already killed 25 people worldwide.
Although no cases have been confirmed in the Bay Area, since Friday about 800 people have been sickened across the globe by the virus, which originated in Wuhan, China sometime last month.
Officials with San Francisco’s Department of Public Health on Friday said currently there are zero cases citywide but they’re actively monitoring the situation.
“We are working very closely with both our partners, the California Department of Public Health as well as the Centers for Disease Control, the CDC, to monitor the novel coronavirus and enact prevention measures. At this time, residents of San Francisco and the Bay Area are at very low risk of becoming infected,” said Dr. Susan Philip, DPH’s director of disease prevention and control.
“The only exception is if they’ve traveled to Wuhan, China or have been in contact with an individual who has traveled to that area and has symptoms of respiratory illness, which includes fever, cough and shortness of breath,” she said.
To lower the chances of becoming infected, Philips recommends that people regularly wash their hands, cover their coughs with their hands and stay home when they’re sick.
“There does seem to be some person-to-person transmission happening but we don’t know the extent to it. We also don’t know the entire severity of the illness; while some people become very, very ill with pneumonia and, and as we said some people have died. Many other people may have less severe illness and not even need to seek care in a hospital or emergency room, so there’s much to learn about this virus,” she said.
Other Bay Area counties, including Alameda, Santa Clara, Sonoma, Contra Costa and Solano, said no cases have been confirmed there.
Officials with the CDC confirmed there have been two cases nationwide, one in Washington and another in Illinois. In both cases, both patients had recently returned from Wuhan.
The Illinois case involves a woman in her 60s. She remains hospitalized and is in stable condition, CDC officials said.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some of which circulate among animals like camels, cats and bats. Although rare, some viruses can evolve and infect humans, like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), according to the CDC.
The CDC is monitoring people arriving from Wuhan at a handful of airport nationwide, including San Francisco International Airport.
With the Lunar New Year beginning Saturday and with Chinese New Year festivities getting underway in San Francisco, city health officials said the virus shouldn’t disrupt anyone’s plans.
“We’re not advising people change their plans for Lunar New Year,” Philips said.
Anyone who has traveled to Wuhan in the past 14 days experiencing respiratory symptoms is urged to seek medical care right away.
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