February 17, 2020
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this month it will use an existing flu surveillance system in five states to track the spread of the Coronavirus.
The Coronavirus originated in China and has lead to more than 69,000 cases and 1,669 deaths worldwide (as of Feb. 17, 2020). So far in the United States, only 15 cases of the Coronavirus are confirmed.
CDC officials, in a transcript of a public call, said the agency is working with public health laboratories in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago and New York City to begin testing for cases of the virus. The facilities are already tracking seasonal flu cases.
Patients with flu-like respiratory systems who test negative will be tested for Coronavirus, said Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
“What we’re focusing on right now is containing the virus,” Messonnier said. “With only 15 cases here in the United States, we remain optimistic our aggressive measures have slowed the impact of it here.”
If the virus spreads further, CDC officials noted current strategies, including quarantines and travel restrictions, may no longer be sufficient. Social distancing strategies may need to be put in place.
Find strategies for addressing business continuity amid the pandemic in our ISC News story Coronavirus: Best Practices To Keep Business Running.