Health officials monitoring coronavirus

Staff reports

LIMA — The Allen County Public Health Department is closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak in cooperation with the Ohio Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The risk for contracting the coronavirus is low, the health department stated in a press release Wednesday. But anyone who has traveled to China within 14 days of becoming ill or who has been exposed to someone with the virus may be at risk.

The virus can cause mild to severe respiratory illness.

“While we are monitoring the situation and sharing information proactively, it is important to remember that the risk is considered low for people in the U.S.,” said Health Commissioner Kathy Luhn. “This is a good reminder, though, that the everyday steps we can take against the seasonal flu are also beneficial to lower risk for novel viruses such as this.”

The health department recommends:

• Frequent handwashing or use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available

• Covering coughs and sneezes

• Avoiding hand contact with eyes, nose and mouth

• Staying home if you are ill

• And avoiding contact with others who are sick

Anyone who has traveled to Wuhan, China, or been in contact with someone who is being evaluated for coronavirus should monitor their health for 14 days, starting the first day of travel or contact with someone who is believed to have the virus.

Those who develop respiratory symptoms are encouraged to call their doctor or hospital for instructions before arrival, the health department said. Anyone believed to have the virus should avoid contact with others until further instructions are given.

The CDC is encouraging all travelers to avoid China for nonessential visits.

Staff reports

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