What to Know About the Coronavirus

Mayor Charles C. Kokoros and the staff of the Braintree Health Department would like to share information to help educate the public about an emerging global health concern, the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, 2019-n-COv. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that may cause respiratory illness in people. This is a new strain of Coronavirus, first detected in Wuhan, China.

The risk of Coronavirus in the United States is extremely low. As of February 3, 2020, eleven cases of 2019-n-COv have been identified in the United States, with one identified case of infection in Massachusetts.

The Health Department is continuing to track guidance and updates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH), including clinical advisories, that have been shared with hospitals and other health and medical stakeholders. We are also participating in regular CDC and MDPH conference calls and closely monitoring emerging information. The situation continues to evolve quickly, so we will be sure to provide prompt updates as the situation warrants.

Because we are in the midst of an active flu season, it is important to remember that the risk of exposure to seasonal influenza is a greater concern at this time and we recommend people get their flu shot from their healthcare provider or the Health Department if they have not yet received one.

Prevent Exposure

  • The following precautionary actions will help prevent exposure to any respiratory viruses, including seasonal influenza and Coronavirus:
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water (20 seconds of scrubbing) or use alcohol-based hand cleaners (cover all surfaces and rub until dry).
  • Cough/sneeze into a tissue. Dispose of used tissues immediately into a trash can. If you don’t have a tissue, cough/sneeze into the crook of your elbow, not your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, which accelerates the spread of infections.
  • Avoid close contact with others who are sick.
  • If you are sick, seek health care and avoid contact with others, including large social gatherings, meetings, events and travel.

Travelers’ Health

The CDC recommends avoiding all nonessential travel to China. If you have traveled to China in the last 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should seek medical care right away. Before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms to determine the best course of action.

For more information visit the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/index.html. and the MDPH website at www.mass.gov/2019coronavirus

For questions, please feel free to contact the Town of Braintree Health Department: Jean McGinty, Public Health Nurse at 781-794-8094 or Marybeth McGrath, Director of Health at 781-794-8095.