~ by Trevor Phipps ~
Last week, the Teller County Health Department announced that it is officially jumping on the nationwide bandwagon and starting to monitor the epidemic of the new COVID-19 coronavirus.
Even though there have not been any confirmed cases of the virus in Colorado or Teller County, the epidemic has reached some parts of the country and forced many health departments to react by closely monitoring the outbreak.
“With recent cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) reported in several countries, including the U.S., local health officials are on the alert for potential cases,” the county’s public health director Jacqueline Revello said in a press release. “While COVID-19 is a serious global public health threat with over 81,000 cases globally, the immediate risk in our community remains low and there have been no confirmed cases in Colorado or Teller County.”
The health director explained that the department always takes the possible spread of any infectious disease seriously and they have been monitoring the situation for the past few months. The local health department has also been figuring out what precautions to take in case the virus spreads to the area.
According to the health department, the one fact that is known about the virus is that people who are infected have a better chance of surviving if they get treated immediately. “Based on experiences from past disease outbreaks – including outbreaks of related coronaviruses – we know that identifying cases quickly and responding to them effectively is key to limiting and stopping the spread of disease,” Revello stated. “Rapid response helps to ensure ill people receive the necessary care, and it lessens the chance of other people getting sick. Persons ill with symptoms of COVID-19, who have had contact with a person with COVID-19, or recent travel to countries with apparent community spread should communicate with their health care provider.”
According to the Center for Disease Control or CDC website, symptoms of the virus include those one would suffer from the average cold or flu virus. Many of those who have been diagnosed with the disease notice a mild to severe respiratory illness, and it oftentimes comes with a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. One big problem with the virus is that once people are infected, they can infect more than one person and sometimes they can do this before they even know they have contracted the virus.
The local health department said that the region has a very strong disease surveillance system in place. The department works with local hospitals and health care providers to keep a close eye on potential outbreaks of any infectious disease.
The health department has recommended steps to take to reduce the possibility of getting the coronavirus. The tips include frequently washing hands with soap and water, or using an alcohol-based sanitizer if water is not available.
The department also pointed out that everyone should cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze, and avoid close contact with anyone that has cold or flu symptoms. They also recommend that if someone is sick that they should stay home and avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
Coronavirus Epidemic Threatens Several Countries
Recently, news agencies across the world have been reporting on the recent outbreak of the disease and describing many of the problems it has created. The virus outbreak has caused several countries to pull people and operations out of China because that is where the first cases of the disease were reported. The coronavirus was also blamed for causing the stock market to crash last week as more and more Americans become worried about a potential outbreak in the U.S.
One of the problems with the coronavirus that makes it difficult to control is that it is a virus that was just discovered last year. Since it is new, scientists and medical professionals do not know much about it and they have not yet come up with good ways to treat people infected by it or to vaccinate people in a similar manner as other viruses. Other coronaviruses besides the newly discovered COVID-19 exist and infect both animals and humans but all of the other species of the microorganism only give humans mild cold-like symptoms.
Many animals contain different species of coronaviruses, but until now none of the viruses that infect animals were able to infect humans as well. The recently found coronavirus is thought to have originated from animals, possibly snakes, and it has been determined to be a rare species that can attack animals and humans.
The original source of the virus is the industrial Chinese metro, Wuhan City. The virus was first detected there and reports claim that people first came into contact with it while visiting a live animal market in the Chinese city.