Fri Feb 28th, 2020
Tags: Colorado Public Health Department, Coronaviruses, COVID-19, facemask, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), quarantine, respiratory illnesses, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Southern Ute Health Center
The Southern Ute Indian Tribe and local public health are working together, following federal guidance, to assess travelers returning from China to determine the need for monitoring, quarantine, or other restriction of movement and activities.
Basic things you can do to protect yourself from this and other viruses include washing hands with soap and water and covering your mouth when you cough/sneeze.
While we understand that new viruses like this can be worrisome, Colorado and New Mexico have no cases and the risk of COVID-19 for both states are currently low. Risk is based on exposure. People at higher risk are:
Not all coronaviruses are COVID-19. There are many kinds of common coronaviruses currently circulating in Colorado, New Mexico and the U.S. that cause respiratory illness. These coronaviruses are not COVID-19. There also are many other kinds of respiratory illnesses (such as colds and flu) circulating right now.
It is normal in situations like this to have cases under investigation, even when the risk is low and there have been no cases. That’s because health care providers are on the lookout for symptoms and members of the public have a heightened awareness.
COVID-19 IN CONTEXT WITH INFLUENZA
While we understand that new viruses can be worrisome, the risk of coronavirus disease 2019 for Colorado and New Mexico is currently low. In order to contract the COVID-19 people must be exposed to another person who has it. Right now, Colorado and New Mexico have no cases and the number of cases in the U.S. is still small. However, it is cold and flu season right now and people are much more likely to encounter those viruses.
CDC estimates that to date, the current flu season in the U.S. (Oct. 1, 2019 – Feb. 1, 2020) has resulted in between 22 million – 31 million illnesses, between 210,000 – 370,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 – 30,000 deaths. CDC 2019-2020 Flu Season: Preliminary Burden Estimates
Though Colorado and New Mexico have no cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and though the risk to most people is low, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe knows we need to be prepared.
We are working closely with the local Public Health Department to ensure our response is proactive, strong, and collaborative.
WHAT PEOPLE CAN DO
People who are worried about this, or any respiratory virus, like the flu, can protect themselves by practicing everyday actions:
Currently, CDC does not recommend the use of facemasks or respirators among the general public. While limited person-to-person spread of COVID-19 among close contacts has been detected, this virus is not currently spreading in the community in the United States.
If you are not sick: Members of the general public in the United States DO NOT need to use facemasks. CDC does NOT recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.
If you are sick: (i.e., people with confirmed or possible COVID-19 infection, including patients under investigation who do not need to be hospitalized; and people with confirmed COVID-19 infection who were hospitalized and determined to be medically stable to go home):
If worn properly, a facemask helps block the spread of respiratory viruses by the wearer from spreading to other people and surfaces.
The federal government has implemented quarantine procedures for travelers returning from China.
ALL travelers from China will be given CDC’s Travel Health Alert Notice, educating those travelers about what to do if they get sick with certain symptoms within 14 days after arriving in the United States.
The best way to stay up to date on what is happening in the U.S and to stay current on travel information is to visit CDC’s website: cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others circulating among animals including camels, cats, and bats.
Some coronaviruses are common and regularly cause Illness in the U.S. in the fall and winter. These viruses spread through coughing or sneezing, much like the flu. Symptoms may include fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath.
Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people, such as has been seen with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). These viruses have caused outbreaks internationally and have been known to cause severe illness.
COVID-19 spreads from person-to-person. It has been known to cause disease ranging from mild to severe, including disease resulting in death. Most cases of severe illness are still limited to mainland China.
If you have questions or are concerned with your current health status and/or symptoms, please contact your primary health care provider or the Southern Ute Health Center at 970-563-4581 to speak with a Health Care Professional.