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Wyoming Health Department 'monitoring' coronavirus; no cases in Equality State
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Wyoming Health Department 'monitoring' coronavirus; no cases in Equality State

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China Outbreak

Medical workers in protective gear talk with a woman suspected of being ill with a coronavirus at a community health station in Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province, Monday. China on Monday expanded sweeping efforts to contain a viral disease by extending the Lunar New Year holiday to keep the public at home and avoid spreading infection. 

There have been no reported cases of coronavirus in Wyoming, but the state Department of Health is monitoring the spread of the disease after cases have been reported elsewhere in the United States.

“We have communicated the latest information regarding patient care, infection control and testing procedures with healthcare providers across Wyoming and will continue to share updates as needed,” the state’s health officer, Dr. Alexia Harrist, said in a statement. “This is clearly a quickly growing and changing situation.”

The disease has spread from Wuhan, China, after apparently originating in a seafood and animal market in the city, according to the department. There have been more than 2,700 cases in China with 81 deaths, the Guardian reported Monday morning.

Coronaviruses “are a large family of viruses, some of which cause the common cold,” according to the Health Department. This version of the disease causes a respiratory condition. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cases have been reported in countries outside of China, including Australia, Canada, South Korea and the United States. There have been confirmed coronavirus patients in Washington, California, Illinois and Arizona, according to the CDC. Those patients had all traveled to Wuhan previously.

“At this time, the risk of infection appears to be most closely linked to recent travel to Wuhan, China or direct close contact with a person with confirmed novel coronavirus infection,” said Clay Van Houten, the manager of the Wyoming Health Department’s Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit. “If we have a suspected case reported in Wyoming, we will follow up appropriately with patient and community safety in mind.”

A World Health Organization epidemiologist who specializes in respiratory diseases told the Guardian that this was a new form of the coronavirus and that health officials are still investigating whether it originated in an animal.

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Education and Health Reporter

Seth Klamann joined the Star-Tribune in 2016 and covers education and health. A 2015 graduate of the University of Missouri and proud Kansas City native, Seth worked for newspapers in Milwaukee and Omaha before coming to Casper.

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