ND should take precautions against coronavirus

North Dakota’s state health officials are monitoring the outbreak of the coronavirus, a new virus that broke out in Wuhan, China, and has spread to other parts of the world.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the federal agency headquartered in Atlanta, has raised its travel precautions to China to its highest level.

Currently, there are five confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S., according to federal health officials. They say the current risk to Americans remains low.

So far, no cases have been reported in North Dakota, but state health officials are urging people to still take precautions for the respiratory illness.

The virus reportedly includes fever, cough and shortness of breath, and anyone who suspects they might have the virus should seek medical care immediately.

Michelle Dethloff with the North Dakota Department of Health’s Division of Disease Control said health-care providers in the state are being prepared in case of the virus. Information about coronavirus went to health-care providers earlier this month.

People should take precautions also because this is the flu season, Dethloff said.

CDC 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. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

– Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

– Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

– Stay home when you are sick.