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Risk of Contracting Coronavirus Is Low for Montgomery Area Residents for Now

The Montgomery Township Health Department, which serves Hopewell, Pennington, and Rocky Hill in addition to Montgomery, is working with the NJ Department of Health (NJDOH) to closely monitor the Coronavirus (nCoV) situation and to distribute guidance documents for health care professionals to develop an effective response for any reported cases that may be identified in the state.

Montgomery Health Officer Stephanie Carey reminds residents that the immediate health risk from the 2019-nCoV to the general American public is considered low at this time, based on information as of February 5.

“Let’s do a reality check here," Carey says. "There is a lot of (regular) flu in our community right now, and there is no Coronavirus now.“

The corona virus under a microscope.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), exactly 12 people in the US have tested positive for nCoV as of February 6. These people are located in Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Washington. Another 206 people have tested negative. And, 76 people have been tested and the results are "pending."

At this time the CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential travel to the People’s Republic of China (this does not include the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, or the island of Taiwan).

Travelers from China are being monitored, as was the recent case at Princeton University. The University Health Services (UHS) announced Wednesday that it has completed comprehensive assessments of the nearly 150 members of the university community who had been in China in the past 14 days.

Based on that assessment, the Princeton University community members "are not required to self-quarantine and can follow their normal, daily routines on campus, and elsewhere," according to the UHS. "Importantly, none of these people are sick or have reported any symptoms consistent with coronavirus."

The CDC recently updated their guidance for travelers returning to the United States. The NJDOH will be providing updated guidance documents reflecting these changes in the next few days.

  • Individuals that have traveled to China within the past 14 days are now being screened at airports prior to entry into the United States.

  • The CDC is working closely with NJ Department of Health and local health departments to ensure that individuals requiring public health follow-up are being appropriately monitored.

Meanwhile, the regular flu, or flu-like illnesses, remains a challenge in New Jersey.

"If you are sick with flu, or a stomach bug, or a cold, please stay home," Carey says. "If you haven’t had a flu shot yet this season, get one right now to reduce the number of illnesses.“

Carey urges all to get information from reliable sources. "Social media is fast, but can be inaccurate," she says.

The Montgomery Health Department will continue to give updates as the situation changes, Carey said, and the department is working with the state to establish contacts in the event that ill travelers be identified. "We continue to follow the latest CDC and NJDOH guidance and are partnering closely with schools and community partners," she adds.

For up-to-date information, please refer to the following trusted sources:

Latest statistics from the World Health Organization: As of February 6: 28,276 confirmed (3,722 new) China 28,060 confirmed (3,697 new) 3,859 severe (640 new) 564 deaths (73 new).

Outside of China: 216 confirmed (25 new) in 24 countries with one death, as of Feb 6, according to WHO.

For specific questions about your family’s health, please contact your healthcare provider.

If you have general questions:

  • Call the NJ 24-Hour Public Hotline at 1-800-222-1222.

  • Call Montgomery Township Health Department at 908-359-8211.

  • NJ Department of Health Coronavirus Fact Sheet.

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