The Pennsylvania Department of Health is now urging anyone who has returned from China in the past 14 days to take certain measures to help prevent the potential spread of coronavirus in the United States.
Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine issued updated travel guidance Friday for those returning to Pennsylvania from mainland China. At minimum, she advised returning travelers to monitor themselves for fever, cough, and shortness of breath, and to avoid group settings such as work or school for two weeks from their departure from China. Levine also asked those at risk to call 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258), especially if they develop symptoms. She added that symptoms can start to appear up to 14 days after initial exposure, and have ranged from barely noticeable to those afflicted becoming severely sick and even dying.
“While the threat from 2019-nCoV (coronavirus) remains low, it’s important that you take these steps to protect public health,” she said.
There have been no confirmed cases in Pennsylvania to date, but 12 across the United States.
“While we caution Pennsylvanians to avoid all unnecessary travel to and from China at this time, we understand that it cannot all be avoided,” Levine said. “In that case, we are urging Pennsylvanians to be aware of and follow our guidelines to help protect their health and others around them. In addition, we encourage everyone to actively protect their health by getting their flu vaccine, washing their hands frequently or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, covering your coughs and sneezes, cleaning commonly touched surfaces and staying home if you are sick.”
“We are in constant communication with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and are prepared to respond in the event that someone in Pennsylvania tests positive for coronavirus,” she continued. “It is important to remember that the most accurate information regarding this outbreak is available through our website, health.pa.gov, and our Facebook and Twitter, as well as the CDC’s website and social media channels.”