- The CDC announced several new measures to aid in the mitigation of the spread of the new coronavirus.
- Based on what authorities know about how the virus spreads between people, it is still recommending that Americans avoid contact with possibly infected people and public surfaces.
- However, the agency was also advancing its efforts to address cases of the virus within the US, including increased testing patients who have flu-like symptoms.
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American public health authorities announced new “mitigation” measures to disrupt the spread of the new coronavirus, beginning with patients who have flu-like symptoms.
Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the director of the CDC’s Centre for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said on a media call Friday that there were currently 15 diagnosed cases of the coronavirus in the US, and the agency was weighing different approaches to contain the virus in several major cities.
The CDC is working with labs in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, and New York City, with more sites planned to test symptoms that could be consistent with COVID-19.
Messonnier said that the agency would deploy testing to all people “if the risk warrants it,” but quarantine staff is primarily focused on monitoring temperatures before examining other symptoms and calling for individual testing.
The agency, according to Messonnier, knew the virus is spread from close person-to-person contact, and can also likely be picked up from recently infected surfaces, which has informed their basic recommendations for Americans to limit contact with possibly infected people and public surfaces. Therefore the agency is focusing on local mitigation efforts, such as “social distancing” measures like telecommuting for work, ‘teleschooling’ (virtual schooling), and telemedicine (online patient care).
Further increased mitigation measures would cut down on authorities focusing on possibly infected individuals who are tracked down and isolated in quarantine.
Earlier this week, the CDC said that some of the test kits for the virus weren’t working properly, so states would have to process tests through the central CDC lab, delaying results for several days, according to the New York Times.
Tests have been recommended for anyone visiting the doctor with symptoms like fever, cough, or shortness of breath, and traveled to China within the past 14 days or might have been exposed to someone with the virus, the Times noted.
The updated response comes just over a month after the outbreak was initially identified, the new coronavirus has killed at least 1,380 people and infected more than 64,000 across 26 countries.