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C.O. expert, RDM travelers weigh in on novel coronavirus

'I'll take a lot of prevention, but I'm not going to stop living my life'

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Health officials on Monday confirmed the third presumptive case of the novel coronavirus in Oregon. While there are no confirmed local cases, experts say there are things you can do to minimize the chances of getting sick. 

CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Dr. Victor Nwanguma, an infectious disease specialist with Summit Medical Group Oregon in Bend, said washing your hands for at least 20 seconds does help, but you're still susceptible to the virus if someone coughs on you. 

He told NewsChannel 21 as of now, there are about six companies working on a vaccine, but they are all still in pre-clinical trials, so they are some time out.

"The most important thing is to determine if you are at risk," Nwanguma said. "Which means have you been exposed to somebody, or diagnosed or suspected to have COVID-19? That's very important. Or have you traveled to those countries where COVID-19 is endemic, like China, Italy, South Korea. These are things that are developing. As more countries have outbreaks, we add those countries to the list."

The flu vaccine cannot protect you from novel coronavirus. COVID-19 does have similarities to the flu, and Nwanguma believes disinfectant wipes should be able to kill the virus on surfaces.

Several people traveling at the Redmond Airport Monday voiced concerns regarding the virus.

"I'm careful not to touch my face, or if I am eating something with my hands, I'll wash first," Lorri Craig said. "I'll take a lot of prevention, but I'm not going to stop living my life." 

"I think they're not being careful enough, well from what I've heard about it," Bill Hipple said. "For instance, they got those people out in Japan off the cruise ship, they quarantined some of them, and then put them on a bus with other people. Science-wise, they're talking about not even knowing if some people can be carriers, not even be symptomatic."

"I work in a casino up in Washington," Sally Preston said. "I deal with a lot of people from overseas and other countries. Most of my customers I have to deal with real close. So I'm a little concerned at this point, but I don't plan on being obsessive at this point until it gets closer to where I live."

The CDC reports that there have been 12 positively confirmed travel-related cases of the coronavirus. There are five presumptive positive cases. 

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Arielle Brumfield

Arielle Brumfield is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Arielle here.



        1. From what I’ve heard of experts, COVID-19 appears to have a higher retransmission and mortality rate than influenza, but quite possibly not as bad as some others like SARS. It’s too early to know a lot, but we’re not about to stop reporting on it, nor are every media outlet in the world.

          1. “COVID-19 appears to have a higher re-transmission and mortality rate than influenza”
            I’m still not convinced… the transmission rates seem to be confined to highly populated areas through coughing-sneezing- human fluids… the same as all viruses. And I’m not seeing a lot of young strong healthy individuals succumbing to this- it seems to be the usual infants- elderly- underlying conditions- exactly what we see in Washington.
            It looks very similar to Sars and Mers- and yes the planet survived those viruses- but maybe coming during the Obama administration- they weren’t politicized the way CV is… and that seems to be a key difference… Good read here this morning- very timely- make your own conclusions: From ABC News-
            “The novel coronavirus has understandably caused a lot of people to worry. Others, however, nonchalantly report a feeling of déjà vu. It seems like we’ve been down this road before with SARS, MERS and the swine flu.”
            Death ratse for the three are listed as
            10% for Sars
            34% for Mers
            2% for Covid19

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