Coronavirus Information from Tarrant County Public Health
HEB ISD families, please be assured that our student health professionals have been proactively monitoring information about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. All of our schools already have processes in place that include preventative cleaning and health education for students and staff. We are not aware of any immediate 2019 Novel Coronavirus concerns for our students or staff.
As part of our proactive approach to student health, we work closely with Tarrant County’s office of Public Health. We are sharing their detailed information letter with you. We would like to emphasize their advice about preventive steps we can all follow:
“Finally, the most important things to remember are that this is similar to influenza and the prevention steps are important whether there is novel coronavirus in the community or not. Influenza season is here and you should be diligent with washing your hands frequently, keeping hands away from face and eyes, using good cough etiquette, and disposing of used tissue in the proper receptacles. You should remain home from school or work if you are sick especially if running a fever.”
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact our HEB ISD Coordinator of Health Services at JoyKeohane@hebisd.edu .
Letter from Tarrant County Public Health - January 31, 2020
To Tarrant County Independent School District and Private School Leadership;
Tarrant County Public Health would like to provide a situation report for your dissemination to staff and/or parents at your discretion regarding the 2019 novel coronavirus currently from China.
The novel coronavirus from China is a newly identified coronavirus that is different from the seasonal human coronavirus that people may get during cough and cold season. It presents with signs and symptoms like influenza. The most common symptoms being reported from China have included fever and cough. A number of the cases have experienced shortness of breath/difficulty breathing and been hospitalized with pneumonia. The proportion of people who will progress from cold like symptoms to a serious illness has not yet been definitively determined.
The Centers for Disease Control considers the current situation to represent a low risk to the U.S. There are no community outbreaks occurring in the U.S. Person-to-person transmission and community outbreaks have been reported by China. Very limited of person-to-person transmission has reported outside of China, including one in the U.S. on January 30th.
The time from being exposed to the virus and developing disease is two to fourteen days. The main risk for becoming infected with this virus is travel to Wuhan City within the last fourteen days. Less risk is associated with travel from other provinces of China, but it is still a concern. The Chinese government has implemented control measures including curtailing travel from the affected areas to prevent further spread. As a result of reduced travel from the epidemic center, the risk of continued importation is declining.
The current U.S. Public Health strategy is to detect cases of the disease, find people who may been exposed and prevent further exposures. All travelers coming from China are being given information on the symptoms they should monitor for themselves. If they become ill they are to seek medical help and local public health agencies will be informed. In addition, patients are being asked about recent travel to China when presenting to a healthcare facility.
You can only contract this disease with direct contact to a person with the infection, and currently there are no cases in Texas.
Note that the usual seasonal human coronavirus is circulating in Tarrant County. Physicians often will test for human coronavirus using a commercial laboratory. When the lab test is positive, patients will be told they have a coronavirus infection. This infection is different than the novel coronavirus that originated in China and, at present, can only be tested by the CDC laboratory in Atlanta.
Currently within the state of Texas there are no cases of novel coronavirus. This remains a fluid situation that can change daily. To get updates on the Texas situation you may find information at Texas Department of State Health Services website: https://dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus
The intent of this communication is to assist your organization and their understanding of both the international situation, and the national and state perspectives.
As of January 31, 2020, the situation is as follows:
China is the primary country for cases reported with novel coronavirus, especially the Hubei Province where Wuhan City is located. To date, the majority of cases that are outside of China are due to travel or direct exposure to a person from the Wuhan area with very limited person-to-person transmission occurring. This is a situation that continues to change daily and international updates can be monitored at the following World Health Organization website: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
United States Update
There are 5 cases within the United States that have all been associated with travel to Wuhan City. They have been isolated and are followed by their local public health team. People with contact to these cases their contacts are being monitored for symptoms to prevent transmission. For future updates on the United States please see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/index.html
Finally, the most important things to remember are that this is similar to influenza and the prevention steps are important whether there is novel coronavirus in the community or not. Influenza season is here and you should be diligent with washing your hands frequently, keeping hands away from face and eyes, using good cough etiquette, and disposing of used tissue in the proper receptacles. You should remain home from school or work if you are sick especially if running a fever. To get updates on the Texas situation you may find information at Texas Department of State Health Services website: https://dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus