HARTFORD, CT – State, health, and college officials have ramped up their monitoring efforts looking for an outbreak of coronavirus but, so far, there are no confirmed cases in Connecticut.
Gov. Ned Lamont said Tuesday that the state is continuing to closely monitor the outbreak of coronavirus in China after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced several confirmed cases in the United States.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) has two persons under investigation for the new coronavirus, one in Middlesex County who is a student at Wesleyan University, and the other in New Haven County.
The Wesleyan student tested negative for coronavirus. They are still waiting for tests from a student who fell ill this past Sunday at the New Haven Model United Nations Conference. Both students tested positive for influenza type A and the cause of their illness is most likely the flu, officials said. As a precaution, both persons remain in isolation.
“The state is closely monitoring reported cases and remaining cautious on behalf of the public,” Lamont said. “We want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to provide updated information on these developments to the people of our state. We ask that the public not panic but take possible symptoms seriously and consult a healthcare professional.”
China’s death toll rose Monday to 81 while confirmed cases across all of China ballooned to more than 2,700 since the coronavirus was discovered last month. The epicenter of the outbreak is Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, but more than 40 cases have been confirmed in a dozen other countries, including five in the U.S.
Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said Monday that 110 people in 26 states are “under investigation” for the virus in the United States.
That has Connecticut officials on high alert.
“I want to assure all residents of Connecticut that we are taking this new virus very seriously and have been closely coordinating our response with local health departments and medical providers throughout the state,” Public Health Commissioner Renée D. Coleman-Mitchell said.
But monitoring for the new virus is difficult because the state is in the middle of flu season.
“It is also the height of the flu season, and hundreds of Connecticut residents have already been hospitalized for influenza],” Coleman-Mitchel said.” I want to make sure everyone takes precautions to keep themselves healthy during this season, and if you experience any symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, fever or others, please contact your doctor and get treated sooner rather than later.”
Connecticut is at the height of respiratory virus season. Influenza activity in Connecticut is widespread. A total of 784 influenza-associated hospitalizations have been reported since the beginning of the 2019-20 season.
Seven new influenza-associated deaths were reported last week, resulting in a total of 20 influenza-associated deaths reported since the beginning of the 2019-20 season.
CDC believes at this time that symptoms of the coronavirus may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. No vaccine or specific treatment for the infection is available, however care is supportive.
Symptoms of the coronavirus may include: runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, fever, a general feeling of being unwell.
While there is currently no vaccine for this coronavirus, everyday preventative often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer; avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; avoid close contact with people who are sick; stay home when you are sick; cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash; clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.