Since the start of this outbreak, the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department has taken a proactive approach to prepare and carefully monitor individuals who may have been exposed to 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in West Virginia. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised this week, Americans need to be prepared for community spread of COVID-19. The Health Department is working to make sure our health systems, first responders and our public health partners have the resources they need to respond.
As part of the response here in West Virginia and the Upper Ohio Valley, public health officials are closely monitoring the health of individuals who have traveled from mainland China (outside of Hubei province). Health monitoring is required of these individuals for up to 14 days because they may have been exposed to COVID-19. This does NOT mean that they will get sick with novel coronavirus.
This public health intervention is in response to the travel restrictions that went into place on February 2, 2020 which requires public health authorities to monitor the health of all returning travelers from mainland China (outside of Hubei province) for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. None of the travelers the health department has or is monitoring are symptomatic and there are currently no patients under investigation for COVID-19 in the state. Individuals who are being monitored who have had travel in the past 14 days from mainland China are required to remain at home or in a location approved by local public heath as much as possible. Avoid congregate settings including workplaces and school, limit public activities, and practice social distancing.
Additionally if they do develop symptoms, they are instructed to notify the local health department so that arrangements can be made to safely evaluate the person without exposing others in a hospital. Centralized testing for COVID-19 is through the CDC and is only approved through consultation and coordination through the state health department.
If you have questions or concerns about the COVID-19 contact your county health department.