Concerns over novel coronavirus in Utah

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – The concern about the Novel Coronavirus is growing.

Wednesday, state epidemiologists with the Utah Department of Health say they have investigated potential cases of the novel coronavirus.

Most of those cases are from people who traveled to and from China recently. None of those cases came back positive for the virus. 

“So this one started in animals, and it was able to mutate so that it could infect humans, and then it mutated again so that it can infect other humans,” said UDOH Epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials tell ABC4 News there are five cases of the virus in the United States. In total CDC officials investigated 165 cases, 92 are pending, 68 came back negative, and five patients positive for the novel coronavirus. 

UDOH officials say they do have an incident command structure in place. Those who are experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus will be contained at local hospitals while doctors perform tests for the virus. 

Dr. Dunn said, “It is a coronavirus, so coronaviruses are extremely common and in general they cause very mild respiratory illness. They are common this time of year.”

Symptoms for the novel coronavirus are a lot like the flu, runny nose, cough, sore throat, headache, and fever. 

Currently, the virus is spreading from person-to-person in China, and that does not seem to be the case here in the United States.

“Everybody who is a confirmed case actually traveled to Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak, and so the general public and Utahns specifically are at low risk for contracting,” says Dr. Dunn.

State health officials say there are things you can do to protect yourself.

  • Avoid trips to China at this time.
  • Avoid contact with anyone who may be sick.
  • If you sneeze or cough, cover your mouth or nose with a tissue or your elbow. 
  • Wash your hands frequently.

If you have traveled to Wuhan or the Hubei Province in China, and you do feel sick, epidemiologists say to contact your doctor or emergency room explaining you visited the area and need medical help. 

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