Published on February 24, 2020

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Risk to the Public Remains Low

PELLA, Iowa—The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) was first detected in Wuhan, China in December 2019, and has since been detected in other parts of the world, including the U.S.

While the emergence of a new virus that can infect humans is always a serious public health concern, the risk to the general public remains low at this time.

At this time, the greater risk to Iowa residents is from influenza. This is also the time of year many respiratory viruses circulate. “It’s important to protect yourself from any of these viruses by covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands frequently, and staying home from work when ill,” said Jen Weidenaar, BSN-RN CIC, Infection Preventionist at Pella Regional. “It’s also not too late to get your flu vaccination.”

If you traveled to China within the past 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough or difficulty breathing, you should seek medical care right away. Before going to a healthcare office, you should call ahead and tell them about your symptoms. It’s important to remember the risk of novel coronavirus (COVID-10) is associated with travel to China, not to a specific group of people or ethnicity.

When a new virus like novel coronavirus (COVID-19) emerges, there are many questions. It is normal to be concerned about the virus, which has caused so much illness and death in China. In a time of uncertainty, social media becomes a platform for rumors and misinformation. Pella Regional is reminding the public to rely on trusted sources of information like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Iowa Department of Public Health.

For more information, visit the Iowa Department of Public Health Novel Coronavirus webpage www.idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus.