medical-research-labOn Jan. 21, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the first travel-related U.S. case of 2019 Novel Coronavirus. An outbreak of the coronavirus, now officially named COVID-19, was first identified in Wuhan, China. 

Additional imported cases of COVID-19 infection have since been detected in the U.S. It is likely that more U.S. cases will be reported in the coming weeks, the CDC confirmed.

On. Jan. 31, 2020, U.S. Health and Human Services Sec. Alex Azar declared a national public health emergency in response to 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

The CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China. 

To learn more about COVID-19, check out the links and resources from the CDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) below.

PAMED hosted a media call-in on Feb. 7 to answer questions such as:

  • What is the coronavirus and is it a threat to Pennsylvania citizens?
  • How does the coronavirus compare to the flu?
  • What steps should Pennsylvanians be taking to protect themselves, if any?

The presenter was PAMED member Raghavendra Tirupathi, MD, who is medical director for Keystone Infectious Disease.


Symptoms & Virus Transmission 

The CDC's coronavirus webpage confirms that patients with COVID-19 infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath

CDC believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 after exposure. Although investigations into how the coronavirus is spread are still ongoing, the virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

 Pa. Department of Health Resources 

The DOH has a coronavirus webpage with FAQs and fact sheets here.

Clinicians in Pennsylvania are asked to report any suspected cases immediately by calling the Pa. Department of Health at 1-877PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) or your local health department.

DOH released a health advisory with information on COVID-19 collection and shipping guidance for testing specimens for patients under investigation for infection. You can find the advisory here and collection instructions here.

You can find Pa. Department of Health advisories on coronavirus and other public health issues on its PA Health Alert network webpage here.

Coronavirus CME Activities

The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education has compiled a list of coronavirus education resources that can help clinicians respond to the current public health emergency.

View the accredited CME activities on coronavirus infections here.