As of yesterday, the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) had spread to more than 14,000 people around the world (but mostly in China) and has caused more than 300 deaths. An emergency committee of the World Health Organization that met last Thursday in Geneva termed the coronavirus “a global health emergency.” On Friday, U.S. Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar declared coronavirus a public health emergency. This past weekend, the state announced the first case reported in Massachusetts: a college student in Boston who had recently returned from the epicenter of the virus -- Wuhan, China.
In Massachusetts, passengers on flights from countries with confirmed cases of coronavirus were being screened at Logan International Airport in Boston. Individual MHA member hospitals were re-visiting and updating their policies and procedures for dealing with infectious diseases – that is, requiring airborne and contact isolation and eye protection for healthcare workers dealing with patients suspected of carrying the virus. Massachusetts General Hospital created a toolkit that provides a step-by-step process facilities can use to deal with infectious diseases, as well as sample signage for patient areas, instructions on how to remove disposable gowns, and more. MHA helped disseminate that resource to its membership on Friday.
DPH also created this website
to keep the public and providers up to date. The CDC website is here
The basic medical guidance is that if patients present with fever and symptoms of lower respiratory illness, and they’ve recently traveled from Wuhan, China or have been in close contact with someone who is suspected of having coronavirus, then providers should undertake infection control and notify DPH.