Last updated: February 12, 2020
January 31, 2020 — As the disease outbreak caused by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues in China, the Anne Arundel County Department of Health is collaborating with county, state and federal agencies, hospitals and health care providers to utilize existing plans and refined procedures to assess, investigate and manage any suspected or confirmed cases and their contacts. Currently, there is no confirmed case of COVID-19 in Anne Arundel County or Maryland, and the risk to County residents is low.
“Communication and collaboration among our own bureaus, and with county agencies and community partners are vital to ensure our residents’ health and safety,” said County Health Officer Nilesh Kalyanaraman, M.D. “Anne Arundel County has taken steps to be ready for any suspected cases. This includes monitoring the rapidly evolving situation, enhancing screening, and augmenting communication protocols.”
The Department of Health and local health care providers are continually receiving situational updates as well as guidance on infection prevention and control from the Maryland Department of Health and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19.
Symptoms of the COVID-19 disease include mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough and difficulty breathing, associated with travel in China. The CDC is still studying how the virus spreads from person to person. Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread by respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to flu’s spread. There is no evidence that the virus is spread by imported products, packaging, animals or animal products from China.
People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately. Anne Arundel County medical facilities should report any person suspected of having COVID-19 to the local health department at 410-222-7256. Staff are available to provide guidance to health care workers, help track cases, and coordinate further management with the Maryland Department of Health. Hospitals, physician offices, urgent care clinics, retail pharmacy clinics and other health care providers are urged to be vigilant about asking for travel history from patients who have symptoms.
Dr. Kalyanaraman stated, “At this time, the bigger threat to us is influenza.”
The seasonal flu is currently widespread throughout Maryland and there are things people can do to help prevent the flu: wash hands frequently; cover coughs and sneezes; stay home when sick; and get a yearly flu vaccine. Free flu shots for anyone over 6 months of age are available by appointment at the Department of Health’s Parole Center (410-222-7247) and Glen Burnie Center (410-222-6633).
For more information about COVID-19, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.