Health officials: One Oklahoman being monitored amid coronavirus outbreak

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Health experts in Oklahoma say they are monitoring one person amid the coronavirus outbreak.

On Tuesday, officials with the Oklahoma State Department of Health announced they were monitoring travelers who returned to Oklahoma from China. Currently, there is one person under investigation for a possible case of novel coronavirus.

Health experts say they are waiting on test results to come back from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“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.”

Officials say the health department 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 symptoms are allowed to return to the state and are monitored and restricted from public settings like work, and school.

At this point, there are no confirmed cases of the virus in Oklahoma. There are no cases in the United States which have been spread in public places.

Health experts say there are a few things you can do to protect yourself from the virus:

  • The public should rethink any unnecessary plans to go to China.
  • If you’ve returned from China, watch for symptoms of the flu.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Avoid contact with ill people.
  • Stay home if sick.

Officials say that Oklahomans have a low-risk for infection from the coronavirus.

The symptoms of the coronavirus are similar to the flu. Officials stress that the coronavirus seems to be spread among people with closer, prolonged contact with patients.

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a level 3 alert warning against “all nonessential travel to China” — its highest alert on a scale of 1 to 3.

“There is an ongoing outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that can be spread from person to person,” the CDC said in a statement, warning “there is limited access to adequate medical care in affected areas.”

Last month, Oklahoma health officials were monitoring two other potential patients. However, they tested negative for the virus.

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