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Health Tips: Information on the Coronavirus

March 13, 2020 - Information on the Coronavirus from the NYS Department of Health & Centers for Disease Control

A new coronavirus called 2019 Novel (new) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was first found in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. This virus had not been found in humans before. This coronavirus can lead to fever, cough and trouble breathing or shortness of breath. There are thousands of diagnosed cases in China and new cases being diagnosed in a number of countries including the United States.

Frequently Asked Questions:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html

Facts about COVID-19:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/share-facts-stop-fear.html

Fact Sheet: What you need to know

What do we know?

Since this virus is very new, health authorities continue to carefully watch how this virus spreads. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working hard to learn as much as possible about this new virus, so that we can better understand how it spreads and causes illness. The CDC considers this virus to be a serious public health concern. Based on current information the CDC recommends avoiding travel to China, Iran, South Korea and most of Europe.  Updated travel information related to 2019-nCoV can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

How Does 2019 Novel (New) Coronavirus Spread?

Health experts believe the virus probably spreads from animals to humans and from person to person. It’s not clear yet how easily the virus spreads from person-to-person.


There are currently no vaccines available to protect against this virus. The New York State Department of Health (DOH) recommends the following ways to minimize the spread of all respiratory viruses, including 2019-nCoV:

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

• 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 mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.

• Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

• CDC recommends that travelers follow the latest travel restristrictions: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html


Information to date suggests that 2019-nCoV causes mild-to-moderate illness and symptoms like the flu, including fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

Important Health Information For Those Who Have Recently Traveled Internationally

If you recently traveled internationally to these areas of concern and feel sick with fever, cough or trouble breathing, you should:

  • Seek medical care right away. Call ahead and tell them about your travel and symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others. Stay home, except for seeking medical care.
  • Avoid further travel until the illness resolves.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

This is an emerging, rapidly changing situation. For questions please contact the Erie County department of health or the NYS DOH Novel Coronavirus hotline at 1-888-364-3065.

We encourage you to keep up to date about 2019-nCoV, its treatment and prevention by visiting the following websites:

Additional Resources

CDC’s dedicated 2019-nCoV website at https://www.cdc.gov/nCoV.

NYSDOH’s dedicated 2019-nCoV website at https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/

NYSDOH directory of local health departments


New York State Center for School Health website at www.schoolhealthny.com