The North Dakota Department of Health is keeping an eye on the global spread of the coronavirus while also putting together a coordinated statewide strategy to deal with the virus should it invade the Peace Garden State.
The department stresses that, currently, no one is under investigation for the virus in North Dakota.
“We have received calls from health care providers, but the individuals have not met criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to warrant further investigation,” said Mylynn Tufte, State Health Officer. “Providers calling to report on their patients means that they are taking this event seriously and that our surveillance is working like it should.”
There are now six confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States. Illinois announced the first instance of person-to-person transmission, reportedly among a married couple.
“The health, safety and well-being of North Dakota citizens is always our top priority, and our Department of Health is closely monitoring this situation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local public health units to ensure that we’re doing everything we can to prevent the spread of this harmful and potentially deadly virus,” said Gov. Doug Burgum.
The U.S. State Department issued a travel alert Thursday advising no travel to China after the World Health Organization determined the rapidly spreading outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.
The state health department says North Dakotans can reduce their risk for infection by:
- Avoiding all 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
- Stay home and not travel
- Follow the directions of your provider and public health officials
People can protect themselves and their families by washing their hands often, staying home when sick and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
The state health department has information on the new coronavirus at www.health.nd.gov/coronavirus.