For Release: February 11, 2020 – Jamie Dukes, Office of Communications (405) 271-5601
In response to the current outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), in collaboration with county public health officials, are monitoring travelers returning to Oklahoma from China. There is currently one person under investigation with test results pending from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The OSDH is notified of travelers who have been screened by the CDC as they return from China to one of 11 airports in the United States. Those who arrive without signs or symptoms of 2019-nCoV are allowed to return to the state and are then monitored and restricted from public settings including work, school and health care settings.
“We are working closely with our local, state and federal partners to closely monitor travelers returning to the state from China,” said Anthony Lee, director of the OSDH Acute Disease Service. “We want to assure the public that the risk of spreading the virus in public places is still very low.”
Currently, there are no confirmed cases of the virus in Oklahoma and there are no cases in the United States which have been spread in public places. All 13 cases in the United States have been directly associated with travel to China or being in close contact with someone who was a laboratory confirmed case.
Travelers returning to the United States from China in the last 14 days are urged to seek medical advice if they feel sick with fever, cough or difficulty breathing. It is important to call ahead before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room and advise them of recent travel to China. This will allow health care providers to implement the appropriate assessment and infection control measures prior to the patient’s arrival. Any travelers returning from China who were not screened at an airport checkpoint are requested to check in with the OSDH Acute Disease Service at (405) 271-4060.
Public health officials in Oklahoma continue to maintain standard practices for disease outbreaks as they coordinate collectively with county health departments, health care providers and hospitals to arrange for testing.
The CDC advises the public to avoid all non-essential travel to China; and recommends people who must travel to China practice health precautions like avoiding contact with people who are sick and practicing good hand hygiene.