Coronavirus: Enhanced precautions despite low threat for Whiteman AFB

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by the 2019 strain of the coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

First detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, the 2019-nCoV outbreak continues, with the CDC reporting several thousand cases worldwide, including the United States. The CDC has published a warning to avoid all nonessential travel to China and advises that travelers should take enhanced precautions to prevent exposure to the virus.

According to health officials, the immediate risk of this new virus to Whiteman AFB and the American public is believed to remain low.

The infection can be spread from person to person, similar to the flu, and likely from an infected person’s respiratory secretions, such as from coughing.  Coronaviruses usually only cause mild respiratory disease, such as the common cold. However, older adults and persons with underlying health conditions may be at increased risk for severe sickness. 

While Whiteman AFB and its surrounding communities remain at low risk, officials with the WAFB Public Health Element encourage everyone to do their part to help respond to this emerging public health threat:

 

  1. Military members, dependents, civilian and contract personnel traveling to or from the Pacific Region (China, Japan, Micronesia, Mongolia, Malaysia, etc.) are directed to report to the Public Health Office, on the 2nd Floor of the 509th Medical Group building, for pre and post-travel education, information and monitoring. 

 

  1. Screening and isolation of returning travelers who may potentially have become exposed to 2019-nCoV will be based on the risk of exposure. If you have traveled to China in the last 45 days or had close contact with someone infected with 2019-nCoV and feel sick with fever, cough or difficulty breathing, please seek medical care right away. Call ahead to tell the provider team about your recent travel and symptoms -- avoid contact with others until after consulting with the provider.

 

  1. You can help prevent the spread of the virus through everyday preventive measures:

- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available

- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands

- Do not share food or beverages

- Cover your mouth with your blouse or elbow while coughing and sneezing

- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

- Stay home if you are feeling sick/consider self-isolation

 

If you are experiencing sickness or think you may have been exposed, please call the appointment line: 660-687-2188 and refrain from getting others sick by staying home/self-isolating.  Supervisors have the authority to allow members to stay home on quarters for up to 24 hours without a medical visit.  If you need immediate care, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

The CDC has provided answers to frequently asked questions on 2019-nCoV. For additional questions or concerns please contact the 509th MDG Public Health office at 660-687-4305 or visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html.