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Contra Costa County monitors conornavirus, prepared to treat potential cases


CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) – Health officials are closely monitoring the global spread of the coronavirus.

It hasn’t reached Contra Costa County but the county is prepared to treat any potential cases.

Contra Costa County health officer, Doctor Chris Farnitano says the county has not declared a health emergency in regard to the 2019 novel coronavirus because there have yet to be any active cases reported but he says people who have recently traveled to and from China have been asked to self-quarantine.

“For school children who have returned from China since February 3rd, they’re asked to stay away from school until 14 days have elapsed since their travel from China. So, we’ve communicated that with the school districts,” Farnitano said.

He says the county health department has activated an emergency center for health agencies to centralize the effort to keep track of the virus.

“We’ve been working with all our local hospitals to make sure they have the proper plans for doing travel screening when people present to their facilities. How the health care workers, the nurses, the doctors, the clerical staff all follow the proper infection control procedures to protect themselves from any possible exposure,” Farnitano said.

He says symptoms of the virus are similar to the common cold and flu, fever, coughing and respiratory problems.

We’re in the middle of the cold and flu season, he says the jury is still out on whether warmer temperatures will have an impact on how the novel coronavirus may spread.

“We know that a lot of coronaviruses like the common cold, like the SARS outbreak a few years ago, many of them tend to spread a lot more in the winter months, in the cold months. Then they tend to die down in the summer months. We don’t know enough about this virus to know if it’s going to behave that way,” Farnitano said.

He says test results for more than 90-percent of the people screened for the novel coronavirus by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have come back negative.

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