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UPDATE: Virginia Department of Health Announces Two Patients Under Investigation Test Negative for Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

(Richmond, Va.) – The Virginia Department of Health has received test results for the two Patients Under Investigation (PUIs) for Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the Central Region of Virginia. The results from testing performed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were negative, indicating that the two individuals do not have the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection. Test results for a Patient Under Investigation in the Northern Region of Virginia are expected to be received later this week. At this time, Virginia continues to have no confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus 2019-nCoV.

VDH will continue to work with the CDC and local partners to detect and respond to any possible cases that might occur in Virginia. For more information, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/surveillance-and-investigation/novel-coronavirus/.

Virginia Department of Health Announces Preparations and Activities Related to the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Outbreak

(Richmond, Va.) – The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and local health officials statewide are monitoring developments surrounding the respiratory outbreak first detected in Wuhan, China caused by a new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). This is a rapidly evolving situation. To provide the latest local information and updates to Virginians, VDH has developed a novel coronavirus webpage. This webpage provides important information about the outbreak and offers resources for healthcare providers.

Common coronaviruses can cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illness, like the common cold. Public health officials are still learning about 2019-CoV and how it affects people. Some people who have become ill with 2019-CoV have had mild symptoms. Others have had more severe illness, including some deaths. Symptoms include fever, cough, and trouble breathing, and can appear anywhere from two to 14 days after exposure. Although 2019-nCoV is spreading between people in parts of Asia, scientists do not yet know how easily it spreads. Closely related viruses that cause Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) mainly spread from person-to-person through close contact or respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

VDH is encouraging health care providers to ask patients about recent international travel and consider 2019-nCoV infection in patients who have traveled to Wuhan, China within 14 days of the onset of symptoms, including fever and respiratory symptoms. When potential cases are reported, laboratory samples are collected and submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing. These cases are called Patients Under Investigation.

Currently Virginia is investigating three residents in the central (2) and northern (1) regions of Virginia who meet both clinical and epidemiologic criteria for 2019-nCoV. Beginning January 27, VDH will post the number of Patients Under Investigation (PUIs) who meet both clinical and epidemiologic criteria for 2019-nCoV testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the VDH novel coronavirus webpage. To protect patient confidentiality, specific details about these patients will not be provided. Public health is working closely with these patients and anyone who was in close contact to prevent the spread of illness.

VDH is also reminding Virginians that there are steps everyone should take to prevent respiratory illness – especially with the influenza (flu) and respiratory disease season underway in Virginia. These include getting a flu vaccine, washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, staying home when sick, and taking flu antivirals as prescribed.

VDH recommends travelers to China protect themselves by avoiding contact with sick people, animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat). CDC has issued a Travel Warning to avoid nonessential travel to Hubei Province, China, including Wuhan. CDC has also issued a Travel Watch to practice usual precautions for China. (See https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/china#travel-notices.)

For more information on the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/surveillance-and-investigation/novel-coronavirus/.

VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH CLOSES AREA TO SHELLFISH HARVESTING

(RICHMOND, Va.)— The Virginia Department of Health announced today that shellfish-harvesting waters near Allens Island in the York River in Gloucester County are closed to the harvest of oysters and clams effective January 24, 2020.  This closure is the result of notification of a Norovirus Outbreak in Central Virginia with an epidemiological link to shellfish harvested from this area. This closure is for 21 days.

Maps of the affected areas are located on the Division of Shellfish Sanitation’s home page at www.vdh.virginia.gov/Shellfish/.  The affected shellfish are bivalve mollusks including oysters and clams, but not crabs or fin fish.

For more information on shellfish closures, see the frequently asked questions on shellfish condemnations at www.vdh.virginia.gov/EnvironmentalHealth/Shellfish/faq/.

The Virginia Department of Health is alerting Virginia clinicians about an outbreak that began in Wuhan City, China caused by a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

January 22, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers the immediate risk of 2019-nCoV infection to the American public to be low based on available information. For travelers to Wuhan City, CDC has issued a Level 2 (Practice Enhanced Precautions) travel advisory. Wuhan City is a major domestic and international transport hub. With the Lunar New Year starting on January 25, more travel from the area is expected.

Hundreds of 2019-nCoV cases in China have been reported. Additional cases have been identified in Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, and South Korea. On January 21, 2010, the United States announced the first confirmed case in a person who traveled to Wuhan. Signs and symptoms include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, and bilateral lung infiltrates on chest radiograph. Several people in China have died. Based on preliminary information, older adults with underlying health conditions might be at increased risk of severe disease. Initially, patients were reporting exposure to a large market in Wuhan City that sells seafood and live animals, suggesting animal-to-person spread. An increasing number of patients are reporting no exposure to animal markets, suggesting that person-to-person spread is occurring. The extent of person-to-person spread is not known.

On January 17, 2020, CDC issued updated interim guidance to assist healthcare providers in the identification, evaluation, and reporting of a Patient Under Investigation (PUI) for 2019-nCoV in the United States. Clinicians are advised to do the following:

  1. Obtain a detailed travel history for patients with fever and acute respiratory illness.
  2. If a patient meets the criteria of a Patient Under Investigation (PUI) in association with the outbreak of 2019-nCoV in Wuhan City, China (see below for definition of PUI):
    • Ask the patient to wear a surgical mask as soon as the PUI is identified.
    • Evaluate the patient in a private room with the door closed, ideally in an airborne infection isolation room if available.
    • Use standard, contact and airborne precautions, and eye protection (e.g., goggles or face shield).
    • Immediately notify infection control personnel and your local health department.
  1. The Virginia Department of Health will consult with CDC and Virginia’s Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services (DCLS) about testing.
    • Currently, 2019-nCoV testing is only available at CDC. Three specimen types (lower respiratory, upper respiratory and serum specimens) are recommended for this testing. If possible, more specimens (e.g., stool, urine) should be collected and stored until CDC determines if these should be tested.
    • For biosafety reasons, virus isolation in cell culture or initial characterization of viral agents recovered in cultures of specimens from a PUI is not recommended.
  1. For more information on this rapidly evolving situation, please visit the CDC Novel Coronavirus 2019 website.

Patients in the United States who meet the following criteria should be evaluated as a Patient Under Investigation (PUI) in association with the outbreak of 2019-nCoV in Wuhan City, China.*

Clinical Features & Epidemiologic Risk
Fever1 and symptoms of lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough, difficulty breathing) and In the last 14 days before symptom onset, a history of travel from Wuhan City, China.

– or –

In the last 14 days before symptom onset, close contact2 with a person who is under investigation for 2019-nCoV while that person was ill.

Fever1 or symptoms of lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough, difficulty breathing) and In the last 14 days, close contact2 with an ill laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV patient.

*Source: CDC https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/clinical-criteria.html. Please note that these criteria might change as more information becomes available.

1Fever may not be present in some patients, such as those who are very young, elderly, immunosuppressed, or taking certain fever-lowering medications. Clinical judgment should be used to guide testing of patients in such situations.

2Close contact is defined as—

a) being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters), or within the room or care area, of a novel coronavirus case for a prolonged period of time while not wearing recommended personal protective equipment or PPE (e.g., gowns, gloves, NIOSH-certified disposable N95 respirator, eye protection); close contact can include caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a health care waiting area or room with a novel coronavirus case.– or –

b) having direct contact with infectious secretions of a novel coronavirus case (e.g., being coughed on) while not wearing recommended personal protective equipment.

See CDC’s Interim Healthcare Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients Under Investigation for 2019 Novel Coronavirus

Data to inform the definition of close contact are limited. Considerations when assessing close contact include the duration of exposure (e.g., longer exposure time likely increases exposure risk) and the clinical symptoms of the person with novel coronavirus (e.g., coughing likely increases exposure risk as does exposure to a severely ill patient). Special consideration should be given to those exposed in health care settings.

Additional Resources: 

As Seen on This Week in Richmond…

On This Week in Richmond with David Bailey, Olivette Burroughs, Health Workforce Specialist, and Veronica Cosby, Partners in Prayer & Prevention Coordinator, discuss what they’re doing to reduce health inequities across Virginia.  Learn more about what the Virginia Partners in Prayer & Prevention (Virginia P3) program and the Virginia State Loan Repayment Program (VA-SLRP) are doing in your communities.

Affordable Care Act (ACA) Insurance Open Enrollment Period Extended!

Affordable Care Act (ACA) Insurance Open Enrollment Period Extended!

Virginia Medication Assistance Program clients can still enroll in ACA insurance plans because the ACA open enrollment period has been extended until 3:00 a.m. December 18, 2019 for coverage that will start January 1, 2020.  If you need enrollment help, please call Benalytics at 1-855-483-4647.  If you have other Virginia Medication Assistance Program questions or need help to ensure you submit all information needed for VDH to pay your premiums, please call (855) 362-0658 or Toll-Free Fax to (877) 837-2853.

National Influenza Vaccination Week is December 1 – 7, 2019

It’s Not Too Late to Vaccinate!

Keep your family strong. Vaccinate. Fight Flu.

It’s that time of year again — flu season. As family and friends are gathering for the holidays, flu activity is increasing. Get a flu vaccine now if you have not gotten vaccinated yet this season.

There are many reasons to get a flu vaccine. Flu vaccination can reduce your risk of flu illness, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu. Even if you are vaccinated and still get sick, flu vaccine can reduce the severity of your illness. Flu vaccination also can help protect women during and after pregnancy and protect the baby born to a vaccinated mom for several months after birth. Flu vaccine also has been shown to save children’s lives, prevent serious events associated with chronic lung disease, diabetes and heart disease, and prevent flu-related hospitalization among working age adults and older adults. Getting vaccinated isn’t just about keeping you healthy; it’s also about helping to protect others around you who may be vulnerable to becoming very sick, such as babies, older adults, and pregnant women.

It’s not too late to get a flu vaccine to protect yourself and your loved ones this flu season! CDC Get A Flu Shot Graphic (superhero arm with a bandaid)

You can find out where to get a flu shot in your area by:

Be familiar with the symptoms of flu and the people most at risk from flu complications, including young children, older adults, pregnant women and people with certain medical conditions. If you fall into one of those groups, make sure you get vaccinated promptly, and treated promptly if you do get the flu.

There are also simple steps you can take to help prevent the spread of flu:

  • Always cover your cough and sneeze into your elbow
  • Wash your hands
  • Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that get touched a lot, such as door handles, countertops, and faucets.
  • If you feel sick, stay home from work or school

Learn more about the Flu and how to care for you and your loved ones.

 

World AIDS Day is December 1

World AIDS Day takes place December 1 of each year.  It is a time when people across the world can take the opportunity to unite in the fight against HIV and AIDS, and show support for those living with HIV, and remember those that have lost their lives to AIDS-related illnesses.  Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day.

You can read more about World AIDS Day on the official website*.

Find an event near you and get involved for World AIDS Day 2019.  Show your support by wearing a red ribbon.  Get tested and update your HIV status.  Learn about advances in HIV prevention and care.  Share resources on HIV and World AIDS Day on your social media.  There are many ways to get involved.

This year marks the first full year of Virginia’s Comprehensive Harm Reduction (CHR) program.  Virginia’s CHR program provides new syringes and needles, disposes of used syringes, refers participants to drug treatment and medical care, distributes Naloxone (to reverse overdoses), provides education and counseling, provides testing for HIV, hepatitis and other diseases, and provides referrals to social services and insurance.  Since the beginning of the program, 553 Virginians were tested for HIV.  The program has found previously-identified HIV-positive persons and re-engaged them into medical care.  For more information on the Virginia CHR program or to find locations, visit http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/disease-prevention/chr/.

For Virginia Medication Assistance Program clients:  Remember that open enrollment for 2020 could be ending soon, depending on your health plan.  Read the enrollment announcement and take action now.

The Virginia Disease Prevention Hotline is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 am until 5:30 pm.  You can reach a counselor at 800-533-4148.

*This website link is the official WorldAIDSDay.org website and is provided to give background on the global health day.  VDH providing this link does not constitute an endorsement of the organization’s campaign or a request for donations to the campaign. more>>

Missa Bay, LLC Recalls Salad Products Due to Possible E. coli O157:H7 Contamination

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21, 2019 – Missa Bay, LLC, a Swedesboro, N.J. establishment, is recalling approximately 75,233  pounds of salad products that contain meat or poultry because the lettuce ingredient may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The salad products items were produced from October 14, 2019 through October 16, 2019. The products subject to the recall can be found on the following spreadsheet. FSIS will likely update the poundage as more information becomes available.  FSIS will also post product labels on its website once they become available. [View Labels (PDF only)]

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 18502B” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to distribution locations in Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Most people infected with STEC O157:H7 develop diarrhea (often bloody) and vomiting. Some illnesses last longer and can be more severe. Infection is usually diagnosed by testing of a stool sample. Vigorous rehydration and other supportive care is the usual treatment; antibiotic treatment is generally not recommended. Most people recover within a week, but, rarely, some develop a more severe infection. Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure, is uncommon with STEC O157:H7 infection. HUS can occur in people of any age but is most common in children under 5 years old, older adults and persons with weakened immune systems. It is marked by easy bruising, pallor and decreased urine output. Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.

Consumers with questions regarding the recall can contact Mary Toscano, Consumer Affairs Manager for Bonduelle at 1-800-800-7822. Members of the media with questions regarding the recall can contact the Bonduelle Newsroom at (626) 678-2222 or bfa-newsroom@bonduelle.com.

Consumers with food safety questions can call the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or live chat via Ask USDA from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Consumers can also browse food safety messages at Ask USDA or send a question via email to MPHotline@usda.gov. For consumers that need to report a problem with a meat, poultry, or egg product, the online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at https://foodcomplaint.fsis.usda.gov/eCCF/.

Read the complete news release from the USDA.

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is October 20-26, 2019

Lead is Still Found in Many Homes

Lead is a toxic metal that is still present in and around many homes in lead-based paint and urban soils. Lead can also be tracked in if parents have jobs or hobbies that expose them to lead. Children who are exposed to lead at a young age are at increased risk for speech delay, learning disabilities, and ADHD. A simple blood test can tell if your child has been exposed to lead. If you have children under six years old, ask your doctor if they might be at risk for lead poisoning. See the EPA’s home page on lead for more information.

Protect Your Child from Lead Around Your Home

If you live in a home built before 1978 your home may contain lead paint. Use a damp rag to clean up any paint chips.  Frequent wet cleaning will remove dust and dirt that could contain lead. Leave shoes by the door to avoid tracking in lead, and don’t let your child play in bare dirt around the house. If you do renovation projects, hire a contractor with RRP certification or follow guidelines for safe do-it-yourself renovation.

Lead Abatement Assistance is Available in Richmond and Roanoke

The cities of Richmond and Roanoke have obtained federal grants that will help pay to control lead hazards in private homes for qualifying homeowners. Residents of those cities who are interested should contact their local health department.

Lead Safe Virginia

VDH helps keep your water safe

Information about lead and drinking water 

CDC Lead Poisoning Prevention

Prevent childhood lead poisoning