Coronavirus Update

February 6, 2020

Yesterday, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced it has launched a $675 million coronavirus (2019-nCoV) preparedness and response plan, spanning from February to April 2020, to fight further spread of the virus and protect countries with weaker health systems.

The Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan (SPRP) for the new coronavirus lays out activities and resources needed by international health organizations globally, including WHO, to implement priority public health measures in support of countries to prepare and respond to nCoV-2019. The objectives of the plan are to: limit human-to-human transmission of the virus, particularly in countries most vulnerable if they were to face an outbreak; identify, isolate and care for patients early; communicate critical risk and event information; minimize social and economic impact; reduce virus spread from animal sources; and address crucial unknowns.

According to the WHO, the plan focuses on:

  • Rapidly establishing international coordination and operational support;
  • Scaling up country readiness and response operations; and
  • Accelerating priority research and innovation.

The WHO says as of yesterday, 25 countries have reported confirmed cases of the new coronavirus. China has more than 24,000 people with the virus, representing 99% of all cases. In all other countries, 191 cases have been reported. More than 560 deaths have been reported worldwide.

The U.S. now has 12 confirmed coronavirus cases, with Wisconsin announcing its first case yesterday. The adult returned to Dane County Regional Airport from a trip to Beijing and went directly to the hospital. The person was not admitted as the symptoms were not severe enough for admission.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released interim guidance to provide U.S. public health authorities and other partners with a framework for assessing and managing risk of potential exposures to 2019-nCoV and implementing public health actions based on a person’s risk level and clinical presentation.

The Association for the Health Care Environment also issued an advisory on the coronavirus for environmental services professionals. It details infection control precautions healthcare personnel should take, such as contact protocols and hand-hygiene practices, when working around coronavirus patients, along with products effective against the virus.

Links to a variety of novel coronavirus resources are on IHA’s website.