|Organization:||Department of Public Health|
|Referenced Sources:||CDC: 2019 Novel Coronavirus, Wuhan, China|
|TO:||Healthcare Providers and Institutions, Infection Preventionists, Emergency Departments, Hospital Laboratories, EMS and LBOH|
Please see below for information from CDC about the outbreak of a novel coronavirus causing respiratory disease in Wuhan, China. On January 21, CDC announced the identification of the first case in the United States, in a Washington State resident with travel to Wuhan, China. At this time, the risk to residents in Massachusetts is low. CDC staff are screening passengers arriving from Wuhan into LAX, JFK and SFO which receive 74% of the flights from those areas. Over the next few days, screening will also start occurring at Atlanta and Chicago-O’Hare airports. CDC is working to have all travelers from Wuhan, China routed into one of those airports. There are no immediate plans to begin screening at Boston Logan International Airport.
Patients who report recent travel to Wuhan who present to any facility or provider with a fever, lower respiratory tract symptoms (such as shortness of breath and cough), and/or contact with a known novel coronavirus patient should be asked to wear a surgical mask and be evaluated in a private room with the door closed, ideally an airborne infection isolation room if available. Healthcare personnel entering the room should use standard precautions, contact precautions, airborne precautions, and use eye protection (e.g., goggles or a face shield). Following the evaluation, contact the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) 24/7 at (617) 983-6800 for assistance in determining if the patient meets the criteria of a PUI requiring testing.
Details about specimen types and collection methods are available here: Interim Guidelines for Collecting and Handling of Clinical Specimens for COVID-19 Testing (updated February 26, 2021). MDPH recommends that you contact MDPH to discuss the patient before collecting specimens for novel coronavirus testing. Shipping of specimens will be coordinated through the Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory.
While we are learning more about the transmission potential for this coronavirus, clinical and laboratory staff should follow the interim laboratory biosafety guidelines recommended by CDC. Facilities should ensure timely communication between clinical and laboratory staff to minimize risks associated with handling specimens.
Information is still evolving rapidly and MDPH will update this information on an as needed basis.