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Duke Patient Care FAQ

General

2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. Early on, many of the patients in the outbreak in Wuhan reportedly had some link to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. However, a growing number of patients reportedly have not had exposure to animal markets, suggesting person-to-person spread is occurring. At this time, it’s unclear how easily this virus is spreading between people.

Common signs of infection include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, particularly those in persons with underlying severe and chronic health issues, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health agencies are involved in active investigations to learn more about how this virus is spread. Person-to-person spread has been reported in Asia, though it’s unclear how easily this virus is spreading between people.

The incubation period is the time between exposure to a pathogen and the appearance of the first symptoms.

The CDC believes at this time that symptoms of 2019-nCoV may appear in as few as 2 days or as many as 14 days after exposure. This is based on the incubation periods for similar viruses.

While the CDC considers this to be a serious public health concern, based on current information, the immediate health risk to the general American public is considered low.

  • 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 or 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, and disinfect your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you haven’t already been immunized against the flu, it is not too late to get a flu shot

If traveling to an area where 2019 Novel coronavirus is present:

  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid animals (alive or dead) and animal markets.
  • Avoid undercooked food, especially meat and eggs.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Stay connected for public health announcements.
  • If you traveled to China in the last 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough or difficulty breathing, you should seek medical care right away.
    • Ill students should contact Student Health at:  919-681-9355, option 2 and ask to speak to a triage nurse
    • Ill employees should contact Employee Occupational Health & Wellness at 919-684-3136, option 2 and ask for a nurse; after business hours call the Blood and Body Fluid exposure emergency hotline at 919-684-8115
  • If you are seeking care, call ahead to your doctor’s office or emergency room and advise them of your recent travel and symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Yes, the first case of COVID-19 in North Carolina was confirmed on March 3.

For up-to-date information, please check the following websites: