What is the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?

Information on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus

 February 4, 2020

Dear Gilpin School Community,

Health officials in Colorado and at Gilpin County School District are closely monitoring the 2019 Novel Coronavirus global outbreak. As of today, there have been no reported cases in Colorado. You can stay updated on Colorado reported cases at the Colorado Department of Health and Environment website.

What is the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?

There are a number of coronaviruses that cause respiratory illnesses such as fever, cough and shortness of breath. “The 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Outbreaks of novel virus infections among people are always of public health concern. This is a very serious public health threat. The risk to individuals is dependent on exposure.

Much is unknown about how 2019-nCoV spreads. Most often, spread from person-to-person happens among close contacts (about 6 feet). Person-to-person spread is thought to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. It’s currently unclear if a person can get 2019-nCoV by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.

Typically, with most respiratory viruses, people are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). With 2019-nCoV, however, there have been reports of spread from an infected patient with no symptoms to another person due to close contact.

There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with 2019-nCoV and investigations are ongoing.” (Source:The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) 

What can students, staff, and parents do to prevent infection?

There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

What should I do if my child is not feeling well?

Keep your child at home. Contact your healthcare provider. Children who are experiencing symptoms such as a fever, cough or shortness of breath, diarrhea, “flu-like” symptoms (Fever over 100°F with a cough or sore throat, tiredness, body aches, throwing up, and diarrhea.), coughing, mild respiratory or cold symptoms (Stuffy nose with clear drainage, sneezing, and mild cough.), and vomiting are to stay home from school for 24 after the last instance of vomiting or diarrhea.

What may I do if I have questions?

Contact your health care professional. Anyone with general questions about the 2019 novel coronavirus, can call CO HELP at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911.


CDC | Coronavirus Website

CDPHE | 2019 Novel Coronavirus Website

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