State health officials prepare for new coronavirus

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Categories: Coronavirus Emergency Response Healthy Living Infectious Disease

State health officials prepare for new coronavirus

BISMARCK, N.D. – With recent cases of 2019 novel coronavirus being reported in several countries, including the U.S., North Dakota health officials are working in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to monitor the situation. There are no suspect or confirmed cases in North Dakota at this time. So far in the United States there have been five people from four states reported to be infected.  No fatalities have been reported and all five people had traveled to the Wuhan area.

“This is a rapidly changing situation,” said Michelle Dethloff, North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) Division of Disease Control.  “While the information available suggests the immediate health risk for the general public is low, we take any new infectious disease seriously and we’re preparing accordingly.”

North Dakotans can reduce their risk for infection by following a few simple suggestions.

  • Avoid all nonessential travel to China
  • If you have traveled to China, watch for symptoms of a respiratory illness for 14 days after returning. Signs and symptoms of this illness include fever, cough and/or difficulty breathing
  • If you develop symptoms, you should:
    • Call your health care provider immediately and tell them you have been to China
    • Avoid contact with other people
    • Not travel
    • Follow the directions of your provider and public health officials

In general, the risk of infection for people in the United States remains low.  Likewise, the risk remains low for people who are traveling to other parts of the world or through airports in the United States.

People can protect themselves and their families by taking the same precautions recommended for avoiding colds and flu.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Be current on all immunizations to stay healthy, including influenza vaccine.


For more information, contact Michelle Dethloff, NDDoH, at 701-328-3177.  For more information on the new coronavirus, visit www.health.nd.gov/coronavirus.

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For More Information Contact:

Michelle Dethloff
Epidemiology and Surveillance Manager

2635 E Main Ave.      |     Bismarck, ND 58505-5520
PHONE: (701) 328-3177     |     EMAIL: mdethloff@nd.gov

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