Massachusetts health officials announce plans to protect residents from coronavirus

Health

BOSTON (WWLP) – The Department of Public Health and the Massachusetts Port Authority on Friday, announced ongoing steps being taken to ensure the Commonwealth is fully prepared to respond to the deadly Wuhan coronavirus. 

To date, there have been no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Massachusetts and the risk to residents remains low. 

According to health officials, the CDC has identified Boston Logan International Airport as one of the 20 additional airports that will screen passengers arriving from China for the virus. This will begin in the upcoming days. The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol will continue conducting passive screening for signs of illness of all passengers entering the U.S.

UPDATE ON FLIGHTS TO AND FROM CHINA:

Logan International Airport has three daily non-stop flights from China: Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. Logan Airport does not have any flights originating in Wuhan, China or Hubei Province. 

With the US government’s declaration Friday of a public health emergency, which includes limiting arrivals from China to just a handful of airports, starting Sunday, Feb. 2, the plans for Logan International Airport could change. 

CONFIRMED WUHAN CORONAVIRUS:

There are thousands of confirmed human cases in more than 20 countries across the globe, with more than 99 percent of the cases in China. Six cases have been confirmed in the U.S., including two people in California, two people in Illinois and one person in Washington and another in Arizona.  The first person to person transmission was reported in Illinois, according to the CDC. 

On Friday, the U.S. Health and Human Services declared the coronavirus a public health emergency and ordered any U.S. citizens returning from the center of the outbreak in China to be quarantined for two weeks.  

This decision was made after the World Health Organization declared the virus as a public health emergency of international concern on Thursday. 

CORONAVIRUS AND WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Coronaviruses are respiratory viruses and are generally spread through respiratory secretions (droplets from coughs and sneezes) of an infected person to another person. Symptoms of novel coronavirus include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, and in severe cases, pneumonia (fluid in the lungs).  Information about how this novel coronavirus spreads is still limited. 

Although the risk of the coronavirus to Massachusetts residents remains low, people are advised to take many of the same steps they do to help prevent colds and the flu, including: 

Clinicians who see patients with recent travel in China, especially Hubei Province, who have a fever, lower respiratory tract symptoms (such as shortness of breath and cough), and/or contact with a known novel coronavirus patient, should contact DPH 24/7 at (617) 983-6800 for assistance. Further clinical guidance can be found in our Clinical Advisory. 

PROTECT YOURSELF:

  • Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. 
  • Cover coughs and sneezes. 
  • Stay home when feeling sick. 

The new DPH website provides relevant up-to-date information on the status of novel coronavirus for all residents:  https://www.mass.gov/2019coronavirus. 

Additional details and guidance regarding the novel Coronavirus is available from the CDC: 2019 Novel Coronavirus. 

STEPS TAKEN BY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH:

  • Established an Incident Command Structure to facilitate the dissemination of information from federal and state partners to statewide stakeholders regularly. 
  • Launched a new website that provides up-to-date information on the status of novel coronavirus for all residents:  https://www.mass.gov/2019coronavirus
  • Developed and disseminated clinical advisories to all Massachusetts health care providers and issued guidance to hospitals, health systems, and Emergency Medical Services. 
  • Scheduled calls with other key health care partners including local boards of health. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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