Mighty Blog

Coronavirus: What parents need to know

You have heard about an illness called “coronavirus” in the news recently. Coronavirus is an illness that looks similar to common respiratory diseases like the common cold, influenza or pneumonia.

Patsy Stinchfield, CPNP, and senior director of infection prevention at Children’s Minnesota stated “At the present time, our greater likelihood of infectious disease is the usual winter viruses we typically see this time of year that we are already experiencing across our system,”

We assure you that plans are in place to make sure that Children’s Minnesota has the proper resources and protection in place to care for kids in the event of a coronavirus infection.

“We feel very well prepared to care for any suspected 2019-nCoV patients and we have the special air rooms and supplies in place to handle such a situation,” explained Stinchfield. “We continue to monitor the epidemiology of this rapidly changing outbreak. We appreciate everyone’s heightened awareness and high level of suspicion for novel coronavirus.  The main question when someone has a fever and pneumonia-like symptoms is: ‘Has there been international travel?’ If not, coronavirus would be less of a worry.”

What is coronavirus?

Coronavirus, or 2019 novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), is a respiratory illness with symptoms like a fever, a cough or difficulty breathing.

While the exact ways this illness can be spread is still being determined, experts believe it spreads from person-to-person, or any kind of close contact. It can also spread through surfaces, especially if a person touches something with the virus on it then touches their mouth, nose or eyes before washing their hands.

Get the new fact sheet from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology here.

What do parents need to know about coronavirus?

Little boy coughing into a tissue

There are no known cases in Minnesota

Although there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Minnesota as of January 2020, there are confirmed cases in five countries, including the United States. If your family has a trip planned to China, talk with your doctor or consider rescheduling your trip. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends you avoid all non-essential travel to China at this time.

It is related to travel in Wuhan City, China

All cases of coronavirus have a history of travel from Wuhan City, China. Some United States airports, including Minneapolis/St. Paul, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York’s JFK, Chicago O’Hare and Atlanta are completing special screenings for travelers coming from Wuhan City before entering the country.

How can families prevent the spread of illnesses?

You can follow simple steps to prevent the spread of illnesses in your home:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, after coughing or sneezing, or before making food.
  • Use tissues to cover your mouth when you cough.
  • Clean surfaces in your home with usual household cleaners.
  • Stay home from work or school when you are sick.

If you feel like your family may have been in contact with someone who has a coronavirus, visit your nearest provider or emergency room.

Kaitlyn Kamleiter