Coronavirus in the US: CDC Guidance Notes Concerns for Elders

Federal authorities are tracking the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, a mysterious virus that has traveled from China to the United States. Though stateside risk is currently low, older adults are among those most vulnerable to the virus, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

The virus originated in the city of Wuhan in China, causing a pneumonia outbreak that’s steadily growing and has since spread to at least five other countries. While little is yet known about the virus, the CDC said the immediate health risk to the general American public is considered low at this time. Nevertheless, it is urging health care providers to be on the lookout for patients with respiratory symptoms and a history of travel to Wuhan or close contact with someone who may have traveled there recently.

The United States has reported cases of the virus this past week. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced last week that two people in the state, who had recently traveled to the Wuhan area, are isolated in their homes with coronavirus symptoms. MDH sent tests to the CDC to confirm whether those two people have the virus. 

MDH said while the risk to the general population in Minnesota is low, they're still prepared. More information can be found on the MDH 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) website.

The CDC released interim guidance for healthcare professionals who may encounter patients with symptoms related to the virus, such as fever and acute respiratory signs such as cough and difficulty breathing. Health officials say they don't think it's contagious until symptoms appear and at that point it likely only spreads through close contact. 

It is always a good reminder to inform visitors and staff not to visit or work when experiencing cold and flu symptoms due to the susceptibility of residents. 

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