CDC continues to monitor an outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. There is much unknown about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with 2019-nCoV.  CDC has provided guidance for health care providers – some of which is outlined below.  The rest can be obtained by going to the CDC links.

A pneumonia outbreak of unknown etiology was reported on December 31, 2019, from Wuhan, China. Chinese health authorities have confirmed more than 300 infections (including at least 6 deaths) with a novel coronavirus as the cause of the outbreak. Cases have also occurred in other countries including a case in the U.S. in Washington. Preliminary data suggest that older individuals and those with comorbidities may be at higher risk for severe disease.

Initially, many patients had epidemiological links to a large seafood and animal market in Wuhan, which was closed on January 1, 2020. Chinese health authorities have reported person-to-person transmission of 2019-nCoV to close contacts and healthcare providers. CDC has issued a level 2 travel alert (practice enhanced precautions; see wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/alert/novel-coronavirus-china).

Travelers arriving in the U.S. from Wuhan, are screened for symptoms compatible with 2019-nCoV. Travelers with symptoms will be referred for evaluation. Asymptomatic travelers receive a card with information about what to do if symptoms appear (if they develop fever, cough or difficulty breathing they should call ahead to a doctor or emergency room, and let them know that they have been in Wuhan). JFK, SFO and LAX airports began screening on January 17 and ATL and ORD airports will be added this week. All travel from Wuhan to the U.S. will funnel through these 5 airports beginning this week.


No vaccine or specific treatment for 2019-nCoV infection is available; care is supportive. The criteria for a 2019-nCoV patient under investigation (PUI) are subject to change.

Criteria to Guide Evaluation of PUI for 2019-nCoV

  • Fever AND symptoms of lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) and in the last 14 days before symptom onset had one of the following exposures:
    • History of travel from Wuhan, China


    • Close contact with a person who is under investigation for 2019-nCOV while that person was ill.


  • Fever OR symptoms of lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) and in the last 14 days before symptom onset:
    • Close contact with an ill laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV patient.
  1. Patients who meet the PUI criteria should be reported immediately to the Minnesota Department of Health and your facility’s infection prevention personnel.
  2. Interim Healthcare Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations

PUIs for 2019-nCoV should be asked to wear a surgical mask and evaluated in a private room with the door closed, ideally in an airborne infection isolation room if available. Healthcare personnel should use standard precautions, contact precautions, airborne precautions, and eye protection (e.g., goggles or a face shield).

  1. PUIs for 2019-nCoV do not require admission to a biocontainment unit. Unless clinically indicated, PUIs do not require hospital admission. Recommendations for home care are available on the CDC website (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html).

Additional Infection Control Practices Resources

See CDC’s Interim Healthcare Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients Under Investigation for 2019 Novel Coronavirus (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/infection-control.html).

For More Information

More information is available at https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/guidelines/isolation/index.html




The West Central Health Care Preparedness Coalition participated in the Healthcare Coalition Response Leadership Course in Anniston, Alabama during the week of August 6 – 8, 2019.  Along with representatives from two other coalitions from Florida and California, the course offered the opportunity to share coalition best practices and discuss the role of the health care coalition in a response to public health and medical emergencies.


This course has been offered over 50 times during the past two years, however, during this course the participants were honored to have a visit from Deputy Assistant Secretary to the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Kevin Yeskey.  Together with Dr. Richard Hunt, ASPR’s Senior Medical Advisor for the National Healthcare Preparedness program; Jack Herrmann, Acting Director of ASPR’s Health Care Preparedness Program, and Tony Russel, the Superintendent at the Center for Domestic Preparedness; Dr. Yeskey presented to WCMHPC a Letter of Commendation as well as a Certificate of Appreciation.  It was quite an honor for all attendees.

Representatives from the WCMHPC include:

Shelley Svec, Horizon Public Health

Bev Larson, Stevens Community Medical Center

Kristi Wentworth, Otter Tail Public Health

Patrick Waletzko, Otter Tail Emergency Management

Lynn Seigel, Traverse County Emergency Management

Nathan Roy, Morris Emergency Medical Services

Scott Johnson, North Memorial Emergency Medical Services

Karen Meyer, Perham Health

Shawn Stoen, WCMHPC Regional Coordinator





Health Care Facility Based Training Opportunities

Are you in need of respiratory protection training, decontamination training, or exercise development and facilitation at your facility?  If so, the coalition now offers emergency preparedness planning, training and exercise services for a very reasonable fee at your facility.  You don’t have to drive to us, we come to you!!  The grant from the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response (ASPR) does not allow us to provide planning, training or exercise opportunities at a health care facility level, but we recognize the need to for this service and want you to know that it is available.  

Services Provided

  • Drill facilitation
  • Emergency communications consultation
  • Environmental safety and security risk assessments
  • Evacuation equipment training
  • Exercise facilitation
  • Exercise planning and coordination
  • First receiver decontamination training
  • Hazard and vulnerability development
  • Incident command system training
  • Physical security and environmental design assessments
  • Plan and documentation review and development
  • Pressure point control tactics and self-defense
  • Professional speaking on emergency preparedness topics
  • Psychological first aid
  • Respiratory protection – fit testing
  • Verbal de-escalation

Please feel free to reach out to your regional representative if you have any questions.

Rachel Mockros:    Rachel.mockros@centracare.com

Shawn Stoen:         shawn.stoen@centracare.com

Don Sheldrew:        Donald.sheldrew@centracare.com