Coronavirus update: State Dept. of Health issues traveler guidelines

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Rendering of 2019 coronavirus. Image/CDC

CONCORD, NH – Following an announcement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (US HHS) that the federal government will implement mandatory quarantine for certain travelers returning from China, the NH Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) is asking all travelers from China who have arrived within the last 14 days to stay home and monitor for signs and symptoms of 2019 novel Coronavirus infection (2019-nCoV).

There are no known cases of the disease in New Hampshire. Two cases that were under investigation tested negative for the virus.

On Friday, January 31, 2020, US HHS Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a Public Health Emergency in the United States for the 2019 novel Coronavirus. As part of this declaration, Secretary Azar announced steps the federal government is taking to mitigate the spread of the virus, beginning on February 2, 2020.

NH DHHS will work with US HHS to implement the new monitoring program when it goes into effect. NH DHHS recommends that people who have previously arrived to New Hampshire from China within the last 14 days should stay at home and monitor for symptoms of fever or respiratory illness such as cough and shortness of breath.

The new US HHS monitoring program goes into effect on February 2, 2020 and includes the following steps:

  • Any U.S. citizen returning to the U.S. who has been in Hubei Province in the previous 14 days will be subject to 14 days of mandatory quarantine, and
  • U.S. citizens who have been in the rest of mainland China will undergo 14 days of monitored self-quarantine to ensure they have not contracted the virus and do not pose a public health risk.

If any symptoms develop, people should call NH DHHS at 603-271-4496. If their health condition is urgent, they should call the urgent care center or hospital before going in person so that the appropriate precautions can be taken to prevent spread.

“The outbreak of the 2019-nCoV in China continues to rapidly increase, but the risk to our communities in New Hampshire remains low,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan. “In an effort to quickly identify any infections from this new virus and help prevent any spread in our communities, we are asking people who may have traveled to China in the last 14 days to stay at home and monitor for symptoms of fever or respiratory illness. This is a rapidly changing situation and these recommendations may change in the coming days as further federal guidance is implemented.”

To stay healthy this season, the CDC recommends taking precautionary measures similar to those for flu prevention, including frequent handwashing with soap and water, avoiding close contact with sick individuals, staying home if you are sick, covering your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing, and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs. These steps can help prevent infection from many different viruses circulating this time of year.

For more information on novel Coronavirus, please visit https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/2019-ncov.htm and https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/index.html.