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OSDH on Coronavirus in U.S.: 'The risk to the general public is low.'

Posted at 10:18 PM, Jan 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-28 11:55:28-05

In the fight to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, a federal travel advisory for China is now at level three -- meaning travelers should not go there unless they must.

Chinese health officials are reporting thousands of Coronavirus cases. They launched quarantines and are restricting travel within the country.

There are five confirmed in the United States (Washington, two in California, Illinois, and Arizona), and two more people in Oklahoma are being tested.

Laurence Burnsed, MPH, State Epidemiologist for the Oklahoma State Department of Health, says, “The risk to the general public is low. We're talking about five cases identified today throughout the United States -- none of them in Oklahoma, at this time. Even amongst those five cases, there has been no occurrence of sustained person-to-person transmission amongst other individuals in those communities."

The criteria to be tested for the virus includes having traveled to China recently and showing symptoms: coughing, fever, and shortness of breath.

The OSDH is coordinating testing with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It will take several days until they have results.

The Oklahoma patients are not the only ones pending testing. There are 73 other potential cases in the U.S.

All confirmed Coronavirus cases have a history of travel to Wuhan, China. The virus broke there in early December. The city is on lock-down; some Americans cannot leave.

As for the rest of the world, the virus is confirmed in 15 countries with more than 2,700 cases and 80 deaths.

Two tips to keep in mind: keep hands washed and stay away from anyone who is sick.

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