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February 24, 2020

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In response to the growing global COVID-19 outbreak, CDC is frequently updating Travel Alerts for countries with community transmission. See current Travel Advisories at: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers

CDC Travel Alerts have recently been added for Japan, South Korea, Italy, Hong Kong and Iran; we anticipate additional countries will be added. The CDC Travel Alerts advise travelers returning from specific countries during the past 14 days and who feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing to:

  • Seek medical advice. Call ahead before going to a doctor's office or emergency room. Tell them about your recent travel an area with community spread of coronavirus, and your symptoms.

  • Avoid contact with others and do not travel while sick.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.

  • Clean your hands by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%-95% alcohol immediately after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.

The CDC Travel Alerts also advise that healthcare providers should:

  • Obtain a detailed travel history for patients with fever or acute respiratory symptoms.

  • For patients with these symptoms who were in Japan, S. Korea, Italy, Hong Kong, or Iran (check CDC Travel Alerts for current list) and had onset of illness within 2 weeks of leaving, consider COVID-19 infection and notify infection control personnel and your local health department immediately.

  • At this time there is no further CDC guidance for management of these persons. Until further guidance is available, Public Health will consider COVID-19 testing (PUI) for persons with onset of illness within 14 days of travel to a country with a current CDC Travel Alert and:
    • Who had close contact with a COVID-19 case, OR,
    • Who have pneumonia or require hospitalization for respiratory tract disease.

  • Manage patients with less severe illness according to their clinical status until well, following guidance above. There are currently no additional public health recommendations for these persons and consultation with Public Health is not required for these persons.

  • Follow CDC guidance for infection control and PPE for patents meeting PUI criteria.

  • Immediately notify both facility infection control personnel and Public Health (206-296-4774) in the event of a PUI for COVID-2019.

  • Healthcare systems and clinics should put systems in place to reduce the number of people with mild illness that present for care, including by telephone triage and any other means available.

  • Healthcare systems and clinics should anticipate a potentially large increase in the number of persons presenting for evaluation and clinical care related to COVID-19 in the coming weeks, including those requiring hospitalization.

  • Healthcare systems should actively review their pandemic readiness.