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Sedgwick County Health Department monitoring coronavirus

Coronavirus in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Sedgwick County Health Department is monitoring coronavirus.

The department says residents are at low risk for infection from the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) recently identified from Wuhan, China.

There are some who are more susceptible.

“It really is most detrimental to our older population over 65 and those that have pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, lung disease, and that population is usually most at risk when we’re talking flu or a lot of illnesses that we have,” said Health Director Adrienne Byrne.

There are currently no confirmed cases or Persons Under Investigation (PUI) in Sedgwick County.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed several cases in the United States. Most of the cases were people who had recently traveled from China or were identified as close contacts of the travel-associated cases.

The Sedgwick County Health Department (SCHD) is in regular contact with the State and is ready to implement protocols should Sedgwick County have a PUI. Currently, the CDC notifies the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) about travelers from any country with a CDC Alert Level 2 or Warning Level 3 travel advisory. If a Sedgwick County resident is identified, KDHE will notify the Sedgwick County Health Department which would then contact the traveler to check for symptoms and verify travel history. Depending on travel history, the person may be asked to remain at home until 14 days after they left the affected country. The health department would continue to follow up with the person until the end of the 14 day period.

“Our Health Department has experience and is trained to respond to infectious diseases,” said Byrne. “Back in 2009, we responded to the influenza H1N1 outbreak and a measles outbreak in 2014 and 2017. The public health system is on alert, ready to respond to a public health threat, and take action if needed.”

Similar to other coronaviruses, COVID-19 is likely to spread by droplets from an infected person’s nose or mouth through coughing and sneezing.

Below is a list of ways you can help prevent illness:

  1. Wash your hands often with soap and water – use hand sanitizer if soap isn’t available
  2. Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  3. Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze
  4. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  5. Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs
  6. Stay home when you are sick

The health department continually updates the Sedgwick County website and encourages residents to stay informed and look for new information at www.sedgwickcounty.org or https://www.cdc.gov/

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