February 4, 2020
The following is an update regarding novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The risk of 2019-nCoV infection remains low for people in our area. The Newton Health and Human Services Department continues to monitor the latest information from the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH). This public health concern is evolving. The public can expect that recommendations may change, and that Newton HHS will provide updates as needed.
New interim public health guidance from CDC has been released: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/risk-assessment.html. This interim guidance is effective as of February 3, 2020, and does not apply retrospectively to people who have been in China during the previous 14 days and are already in the United States, or those being managed as part of a contact investigation. This means that people who returned from China before February 3 and who remain free of symptoms compatible with 2019-nCoV infection (fever, cough, or difficulty breathing) are not restricted from activities (school, work, etc.) at this time.
Going forward, people returning from China will fly into pre-designated airports to be screened by CDC. These travelers will be evaluated for symptoms and receive instructions about isolation or quarantine based on their situation and the new guidance. Logan International Airport is not one of the airports designated by CDC to receive travelers from China. Anyone who recently returned from China and develops a fever, cough or has difficulty breathing is instructed to seek medical care right away; call ahead before going to see a doctor or emergency room; and tell them your symptoms and that you were in China.
CDC does not recommend wearing masks at school or in the community at this time.
The risk of influenza remains higher than the risk of 2019-nCoV infection for people in this area. The following precautionary actions will help prevent respiratory viruses, including seasonal influenza and Coronavirus:
• 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.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
The best place for the latest nationwide updates is directly from CDC at www.cdc.gov/nCoV. Massachusetts updates from MDPH are available at https://www.mass.gov/2019coronavirus.
The Newton HHS department will post local updates to the City of Newton website at www.newtonma.gov.
Questions about coronavirus may be directed to the city’s Health and Human Services Department at (617) 796-1420.