2019 Novel Coronavirus Update and Recommendations

Published February 7, 2020

Dear Academy Members,
The CDC recently shared an update on the new coronavirus (also known as 2019-nCoV or the Wuhan coronavirus), and continues to closely monitor its progression. The Academy wants to ensure all members are aware of recommended best practices to identify symptoms of the virus, as well as to prevent further transmission.
According to the CDC, confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV symptoms may include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Symptoms could appear anytime between 2 and 14 days after exposure. To date, there are 28 countries, including the United States, with confirmed 2019-nCoV cases.
In a recent alert from the American Academy of Ophthalmology, anecdotal reports suggest the virus can cause conjunctivitis and may be transmitted by aerosol contact. This coronavirus spreads via respiratory droplets and patients may be infectious to others prior to experiencing symptoms of their own (asymptomatic transmission has not definitely been confirmed).
In the absence of a viable vaccine, the CDC recommends guidance on how to minimize exposure and risk to the virus.
  • Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands (protection of these areas when exposed to patients who may have 2019-nCoV).
  • Keep a distance from those who are sick (especially those who have frequently had any international travel–especially China).
  • Stay home when sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then dispose of the tissue.
  • Clean and disinfect exposed surfaces.
  • In the practice, diagnostic lens disinfection protocol should be reinforced, along with basic infection prevention measures.
  • When examining a potential coronavirus patient, both masks and eye protection should be used. 
The CDC has created a guide for healthcare professionals on human infections with 2019-nCoV including printable resources to evaluate patients who may be ill with or have been exposed to the coronavirus. If you believe a patient may be infected, the CDC urges healthcare professionals to notify their local health department immediately.
Other Resources Regarding the Coronavirus: