2019 Novel Coronavirus
While there have been NO confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV in North Carolina, Buncombe County Health and Human Services (BCHHS) is working with state and federal health officials to prepare for and respond to a new coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which originated from Wuhan, China. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers the 2019-nCoV to be a serious public health concern, based on current information, the immediate health risk from the 2019-nCoV to the American public is considered low at this time.
Outbreaks of novel (new) virus infections among people are always a public health concern, but routine training prepares public health staff and partners to handle emerging disease outbreaks like the 2019-nCoV. BCHHS public health officials are working with the North Carolina Division of Public Health (NCDPH), Buncombe County Emergency Services, HCA Healthcare, and local medical providers to prepare for potential cases in our area and are following the latest CDC recommendations related to surveillance, evaluation, and response.
The impacts of novel coronavirus illnesses have ranged from infected people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying. The CDC believes at this time that symptoms of the virus may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. The virus spreads from person-to-person by coughing, sneezing, close personal contact and by touching your nose, mouth or eyes before washing your hands.
There are no current treatments for 2019-nCoV, so it is important to notify your healthcare provider if you have traveled and are experiencing any of these symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing
Since it is cold and flu season, you may experience similar symptoms to the coronavirus. At this point, unless you have traveled to affected areas in the world, there is little concern for exposure to 2019-nCoV.
As with all respiratory illnesses, it is good practice to wash your hands often, stay away from people that appear ill, or have been ill, and stay home if you are sick. CDC does not currently recommend the use of facemasks among the general public. While limited person-to-person spread among close contacts has been detected, this virus is not currently spreading in the community in the United States.
It is important to remember that seasonal influenza (flu) is still circulating in our community. Protect yourself and others by getting a flu vaccination if you have not already. The BCHHS Immunization Clinic (located at 40 Coxe Avenue in Downtown Asheville) offers walk-in immunizations Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (we ask that clients check-in by 4:30 p.m.) Many pharmacies and primary care providers also offer the flu vaccination.
For more information:
- Visit the CDC’s website for accurate information on 2019-nCoV.
- For general information about novel coronavirus in North Carolina, visit this link or call the NCDPH hotline at (866) 462-3821.
- Travelers and providers who suspect 2019-nCoV should contact the BCHHS Communicable Disease (CD) Team at (828) 250-5109. The CD Team stands ready, 24/7, to respond to suspected cases of novel coronavirus in Buncombe County.
We will continue to keep the community updated if any new developments occur in our area.