Recently, a new coronavirus, the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, first detected in China, began spreading to other parts of the world. This virus causes a disease called COVID-19, which can lead to fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
There are now hundreds of thousands of confirmed cases internationally and over 100,000 cases confirmed in the U.S., including confirmed cases of the virus in Massachusetts.
Anyone experiencing symptoms listed below, or has been in contact with someone who has traveled to these areas, should contact their healthcare provider before seeking treatment in person.
This situation will continue to be updated, including on this site and the Center for Disease Control’s website. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health website also includes information about the virus.
The New Bedford Health Department recommends to following steps to prevent the spread of the virus, as well as other viruses:
- Wash your hands often, using soap and warm water, for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- If you are feeling sick, stay home.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and then throw the tissue in the trash. Cough or sneeze into your sleeve rather than into your hands.
- Clean and disinfect touched objects and surfaces frequently.
The CDC’s website has a page dedicated to protecting yourself and others from the spread of the virus
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus is a respiratory virus that may cause mild to severe respiratory symptoms including:
- Trouble breathing/shortness of breath
- Pneumonia (fluid in the lungs) in severe cases
The CDC website has a page dedicated to COVID-19 symptoms.
Call ahead to a healthcare provider if you develop these symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you live in or have recently traveled to an area with an ongoing spread of the virus. Tell your healthcare provider about your recent travel and/or contact with those who may have been traveling over the past 2-14 days.
For recent international travelers to areas of concern:
If you traveled recently to areas of concern and have symptoms including fever, cough, or trouble breathing:
- Seek medical care right away. Call your healthcare provider first to tell them about your travel and symptoms.
- Avoid contact with others. Stay home, except to seek medical care.
- Avoid further travel.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and throw the tissue in the trash.
- Practice good coughing etiquette. Cough or sneeze into your sleeve, tissue and/or handkerchief and not your hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable.