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GCPH offers prevention tips to avoid coronavirus


XENIA — Greene County Public Health (GCPH) officials say they have joined Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China.

According to a GCPH release, Chinese authorities identified the new coronavirus, which has resulted in hundreds of confirmed cases in China and additional cases being identified in a growing number of countries internationally. Six cases have been reported in the United States. The patients recently returned to the U.S. from Wuhan, China. Investigations are ongoing.

“While the source of the virus was probably animals, it is now spreading person-to-person,” the release states. “It’s unclear how easily this virus is spreading between people.”

Two possible cases are being investigated at Miami University in Butler County, but no confirmed cases have been reported in Ohio as of noon Friday. Updates on any future Ohio cases may be found on the ODH website.

“Right now, the novel coronavirus has not been spreading widely in the United States, so there are no additional precautions recommended for the general public,” GCPH officials said.

GCPH is reminding residents to follow steps to prevent the spread of flu and the common cold, also a type of coronavirus.

— Wash hands often with soap and water. If not available, use hand sanitizer.

— Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

— Avoid contact with people who are sick.

— Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others.

— Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.

— Avoid shaking hands to limit germ transmission – use a fist bump instead.

Currently, there are no vaccines available to prevent novel coronavirus infections, the release states.

GCPH has provided a fact sheet about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus on its website at www.gcph.info and is updating information on social media.