|KY Health officials actively monitoring for Coronavirus. (Photo: Unslpash)|
By Jessica Eden
KY Health officials for the state of Kentucky say they are now actively monitoring for the Coronavirus.
In a press release this morning, state health officials announced that the KY Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) are investigating any reports that may indicate a coronavirus case.
Symptoms of the virus, per the CDC, include;
- Runny nose
- Sore Throat
- A general feeling of being unwell
DPH is also working with medical providers to raise awareness and keep medical professionals informed. If a case is determined and testing is required, the DPH and Center for Disease Control (CDC) will respond as needed.
“The Kentucky Department for Public Health works to improve the health and safety of people in Kentucky through prevention, promotion and protection, and our staff also educates Kentuckians about public health concerns like the coronavirus,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “Even as Kentucky is not under direct threat from this virus, our health experts are taking proper measures to ensure the public has the most accurate information.”
Dr. Connie White, the DPH Deputy Commissioner, says the organization is treating the virus as a serious situation and it is being carefully monitored on the federal, state and local levels.
“We understand that some people are worried about this virus and how it may impact Kentuckians. Outbreaks of new diseases are always of concern, and with today’s connected world, an outbreak anywhere can be a risk. While the available information suggests a low immediate health risk for the general public, we consider any new infectious disease a serious concern and we are carefully monitoring the evolving situation and taking precautions," said Dr. White. "Currently the biggest risk we have in Kentucky now for respiratory illness is the flu, which has resulted in 30 deaths so far this season. So we highly encourage everyone who has not received a flu shot to get vaccinated.”
DPH staff also sent an advisory to clinicians statewide on Jan. 22 to update them on the virus and give guidance on symptoms and possible actions if they encountered a possible case.
“Based on what has been learned from past outbreaks – including outbreaks of related coronaviruses – finding cases quickly and responding effectively is key,” said Dr. White. “Rapid response helps ensure that the ill person receives the care they need, and it lessens the chance of spreading the illness. Fortunately, Kentucky has a strong disease surveillance system in place that includes partnerships with hospital and clinic systems as well as local health departments.”
Health care providers were also asked to alert DPH if a person with recent travel to Wuhan, China, becomes sick with respiratory symptoms. When cases are reported, the testing of samples can take several days through the CDC.
“When a new disease is circulating, it’s natural for people to ask what they can do to protect themselves and their families,” said Dr. White. “The best guidance at this point is to take the same precautions recommended for avoiding colds and flu: People should stay home when they are sick, cover their cough and practice good hand washing. If you are planning a trip to China, keep an eye on the news and be aware of this evolving situation. If you have recently returned from a trip to China and are feeling sick, call your health care provider and let them know of your travel and symptoms.”
For more information on the coronavirus, please visit the CDC's website.