January 29, 2020: NEWS RELEASE: DOH prepares for 2019 novel coronavirus
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From: DOH.dirclerk <DOH.dirclerk@...>
Attention all DOH employees, the following is provided for your information and sharing. You are encouraged to send out this information widely to all community partners, and others that may be interested in DOH activities. E-mail administrators please distribute. This e-mail address does not reply to inquiries.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
DAVID Y. IGE
BRUCE ANDERSON, PhD
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 29, 2020 20-008
Hawai‘i Department of Health Prepares for
2019 novel coronavirus
HONOLULU – Although the risk to the general public is low, the Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) is working with state, county, and federal partners including the medical community and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to actively prepare for possible cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Last week, the DOH alerted the medical community and information for healthcare providers has been posted at www.health.hawaii.gov.
Currently, there are no cases of 2019-nCoV identified in Hawai‘i and the risk to the general public is low. The novel coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China and currently there are more than 6,000 cases confirmed in China and at least 17 countries. This includes 132 deaths in China. There have been at least 5 cases in the U.S. of people who traveled to Wuhan or other areas in China and no evidence of person to person spread of the virus in the U.S.
“The Hawai‘i Department of Health is working closely with our emergency response network to put proactive measures in place to protect our residents and visitors,” said Health Director Bruce Anderson. “Because Hawai‘i is a major travel destination, planning and preparing for possible outbreaks is an ongoing activity. The emergence of the 2019 coronavirus in Wuhan and its potential to spread to areas outside of China poses an increased threat to travelers and Hawai‘i residents and we’ve ramped up our efforts.”
“We are advising people not to travel to China at this time,” said Anderson. “Various areas in China have been placed under quarantine by the Chinese government, and travel within the country is either completely prohibited or significantly curtailed to prevent the spread of this disease.”
To date, the DOH has taken the following actions:
Yesterday, the CDC reported that active airport screening of all incoming passengers from Wuhan, China is being expanded from five major U.S. airports (SFO, LAX, JFK, ATL, and ORD) to all 20 U.S. airports with CDC quarantine stations. The Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu is one of the 20 airports nationwide with a quarantine station under federal authority, specifically CDC and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
People who have become sick after travel to China, particularly Hubei Province are advised to do the following:
“We investigate all reports of persons with potential 2019 novel coronavirus infection to quickly identify persons with likely infection as well as those who may have been exposed to them,” said Dr. Sarah Park, State Epidemiologist. “Lab testing to confirm this infection is conducted at CDC in Atlanta, Georgia. This is the only U.S. laboratory that can conduct testing for the 2019 novel coronavirus at this time.”
DOH also recommends that everyone get vaccinated for influenza (“the flu”) to reduce the number of flu cases in Hawai‘i clinics and hospitals. This will help reduce confusion as persons with influenza will have signs and symptoms like 2019-nCoV. DOH strongly recommends that residents six months and older protect themselves against flu by receiving the seasonal influenza vaccination.
DOH has extensive protocols in place for infectious disease outbreak control and prevention activities. The department works with federal, state, county, private, and non-profit organizations statewide on preparedness activities and prevention measures continually, this includes exercises and drills with EMS, hospitals, HI-EMA, Medical Reserve Corps, law enforcement, and other partners. For more information on public health preparedness activities in Hawai‘i visit https://health.hawaii.gov/prepare/about-us/office-of-public-health-preparedness/
For information on the 2019-nCoV outbreak, including information for clinicians and public health professionals, visit the following websites.
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