Henrico doctor weighs in on family safety as concern over coronavirus heighten

First human-to-human transmission of virus has occurred in US

Henrico doctor weighs in on family safety as concern over coronavirus heighten

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - On Thursday, the CDC confirmed that the first person-to-person transmission of the deadly coronavirus has occurred in the United States, and the World Health Organization has decided to declare a World Health Emergency.

The numbers are constantly growing. As of Thursday morning, 170 have died in China from the virus and more than 7,700 cases have been confirmed. 195 Americans have been evacuated from an area near Wuhan, and more evacuations are expected. One student is waiting in isolation at George Mason University, waiting to hear whether he/she has contracted the virus.

Dr. Kevin Connelly, with HCA hospitals. He is the Director of the Pediatric Emergency Room at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital.

“Most people that get the flu or even the coronavirus that’s coming out of China is going to be flu-like symptoms,” said Director of the Pediatric Emergency Room at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital, Dr. Kevin Connelly. “Fever, headache, cough, flu-like symptoms, muscle aches. Some people who get either the flu or the coronavirus can get very sick from it. And it’s when you get very sick from it….high fevers, unable to breathe, then you need to seek medical attention.”

Connelly said one important element being watched is how it is spread, and that’s not clear, yet.

“It’s probably spread through respiratory means, so coughing, sneezing, touching objects. One way you can spread it is just touching a dirty object and then touching your face,” said Connelly. “People touch their face about 15 times an hour unknowingly.”

When it comes to safety in dorm rooms, Connelly said there are some helpful tips parents could share with their kids.

“When you’re in close quarters - kids in dorm rooms - wash your hands often is the biggest thing,” said Connelly. “And avoid people who are sick. Avoid touching your face. Soap and water. Alcohol-based cleaners work great. Make sure you cover your cough, cough into your arm and just if you’re sick - stay home.

Connelly says young children can be some of the most challenging since they put so much in their mouths, so consider helping them to wash hands often and wipe down surfaces.

“The best thing to do is to prevent getting it because once you get it, there’s nothing you can do. There is no treatment,” said Connelly.

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