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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has just updated its guidance for travelers returning from countries with high rates of COVID-19 transmission including Iran, Italy, South Korea and Japan.
The CDC is now recommending that travelers returning from China, Italy, Iran and South Korea stay at home for 14 days upon their return and self-monitor their health. Travelers returning from Japan are considered to be at slightly lower risk, and the CDC advises them to “limit contact with others” and self-monitor as above.
Travelers who develop symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath should contact their health care provider, emergency department or public health department prior to going in for care. If calling 911 due to an emergency, please notify them of your travel history as well.
If you are a returning traveler from any the above areas and are experiencing mild respiratory symptoms that do not usually require medical care, such as a mild runny nose, sore throat or cough without fever (temperature less than 100.4F), you may be advised to stay home and limit contact with others within your home as much as possible until your symptoms resolve.
“Individuals returning from any of these countries are considered to be at an elevated risk of exposure,” said Health Officer Teresa Frankovich, MD, from the Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services Public Health Branch.
Standard public health recommendations for ill individuals apply regardless of travel history and include staying home when ill, covering your cough, washing hands frequently and cleaning commonly used surfaces in the home often such as keyboards, remotes, phones, doorknobs, handles and counters. Taking these measures inside the home will help to protect family members if you are ill. Having ill family members keep some distance from other household members, such as staying in their own sleep area as much as possible rather than in common spaces, can also help to decrease spread.
Frankovich added that the Public Health Branch, the California Department of Public Health and the CDC are closely watching this rapidly evolving situation and will provide additional guidance as it becomes available. The best source for current information is the COVID-19 section of the CDC’s website located at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/.
For more information about COVID-19, please call Public Health during normal business hours at 707-445-6200.
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