Updated: 11:28 am Friday January 24, 2020
The Cleveland Clinic has begun screening all patients who have traveled to China for symptoms of the coronavirus, according to a spokesperson. MetroHealth confirmed Friday that they are also screening patients for symptoms if they've been to China in the past two weeks. University Hospitals reports they are working on a travel screening protocol for their ERs, as well as putting out guidance for clinicians on screening and patient/employee safety.
Concern about the illness spreading across the United States escalated after the first U.S. case was discovered this week. A man from Washington state was diagnosed with the illness when he sought medical attention after returning from a trip to China. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed a second U.S. case on Friday in Illinois and the patient had also recently returned from a trip to China.
The virus, which triggers coughing, fever, respiratory struggles and pneumonia, has sickened more than 830 people and killed at least 26, primarily in China.
Cuyahoga County health officials say the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also issued an advisory requiring all hospitals to report any suspected cases of the illness to the federal health agency. The Ohio Department of Health has also issued a similar advisory.
Individuals should follow the same precautions they do for the flu and other respiratory illnesses, said Cuyahoga County Board of Health Communications Officer Kevin Brennan. That includes washing your hands, getting exercise and rest, and staying home if you feel ill.
“It’s kind of like all those things your mom told you, right, when you had a cold or when you were sick,” Brennan said. “Don’t share food, don’t share utensils.”
Travel can aid in the spread of respiratory illnesses, Brennan said.
“If you feel ill or you have hesitation about being in a situation where other people are coming from other places, just advise you to stay home and wait it out,” Brennan said.
Cuyahoga County is currently at low risk for the virus, he said.