Updated February 12, 2020

What is a coronavirus?

There are several different types of coronavirus. Human coronaviruses typically cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory illnesses, like the common cold. Symptoms usually include runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, fever and/or a general feeling of being unwell. Most people get infected with a coronavirus at least once in their life. 

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a type of coronavirus that was first detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. The U.S. has detected cases of the virus in people who traveled from China, as well as their close contacts. At this time, however, the virus is NOT spreading in the U.S.   

Who is at risk for COVID-19?

At this time, individuals who are at risk for coronavirus include those who have recently traveled from mainland China and/or have had close contact with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19.

What can you do to prevent getting sick?

While the immediate risk of COVID-19 to the American public may be low at this time, it is still highly important to remain vigilant against the spread of infectious diseases. It is peak flu season, and the CDC estimates that from October through mid-January there have been upwards of 21 million cases of flu illnesses. In order to prevent getting sick, the following is recommended:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Stay home when you feel sick.
  • Get the flu vaccine.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose with unwashed hands.
  • Properly cover your sneeze and cough with a tissue, then throw away the used tissue.
  • Frequently disinfect objects and surfaces.
  • Avoid close contact with those who are sick.

What should you do if you think you may have COVID-19?

If you have recently returned from mainland China, or have had close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, monitor for symptoms such as fever, cough and/or difficulty breathing. If you develop symptoms, avoid contact with others, and call your doctor or healthcare provider. Tell them about your symptoms and your recent travel history. They will provide you further instruction. Do NOT travel if you are sick. 

How is NKY Health addressing COVID-19?

Currently, there are no cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky, and the risk of becoming infected with the virus is low. At this time, the Northern Kentucky Health Department continues to work with the Kentucky Department for Public Health and local health care providers, staying up-to-date on the latest information, and monitoring this rapidly changing situation closely.

For more information on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, please visit

Illness in the workplace

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