Is it the flu, or is it something … else?

Although the risk of any North Carolinian contracting the 2019 novel coronavirus is low, it is both comforting and important that our local health officials and practitioners are monitoring the High Country for the spread of the virus.

The outbreak that was first identified in Wuhan, China, has now spread internationally, through more than two dozen nations. As of mid-week, the total cumulative people under investigation for the illness in the United States was 293, with 11 individuals confirmed to have the virus. At that time, there were no positive diagnoses reported in North Carolina, with the only U.S. confirmations being in Washington, Illinois and Massachusetts. More than six dozen cases across the United States are yet pending.

Globally, there have been nearly 500 deaths reported from the virus since Jan. 21, with new cases soaring, as reported by the World Health Organization.

In other words, the High Country, as the rest of the nation, cannot be complacent when it comes to the possibility that the illness can spread quickly. Although little is yet known about the virus, it does have the potential to effect severe illnesses among easily compromised individuals, including children and the elderly.

Best practices for keeping yourself and children virus-free at this time include those behaviors you would enact with the possibility of any respiratory illness. Frequent hand-washing, covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze, and avoiding close contact with those who are ill, top the list.

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