The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) continues to provide surveillance to more quickly identify people infected with coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The NDDoH has received notifications from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding people arriving in North Dakota from China and is actively monitoring these individuals daily.

There have been no cases of 2019-nCoV reported in North Dakota and no individuals classified as a person under investigation. So far in the United States there have been 13 people reported to be infected. No one has died in the United States and there has been no ongoing community transmission. The only person-to-person transmission in the United States has been among close household contacts. 

“As part of a coordinated approach between federal, state and local partners, we conduct risk assessments on all people who have returned from China and actively monitor them for symptoms of illness,” said Kirby Kruger, director of the NDDoH Division of Disease Control. 

As of today, three people in North Dakota are being actively monitored and are voluntarily practicing social distancing, which means they’re staying away from people other than immediate family members. 

“During this process, the individuals will stay out of public places and will be checked on every day to monitor for illness,” said Kruger. “These individuals are cooperating completely with the state Health Department.”

“Monitoring travelers allows us to be quick to prevent spread and contain the disease,” said Kruger. “Our goal is to quickly identify possible cases and take the appropriate public health actions to protect the general public.”

In general, the risk for infection for people in the United States remains low. Likewise, the risk remains low for people who are traveling to other parts of the world or through airports in the United States.

North Dakotans can reduce their risk for infection by following a few simple suggestions:

  • Do not travel to China.
  • If you have traveled to China, watch for symptoms of a respiratory illness for 14 days after returning. Symptoms include:
    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Difficulty breathing
  • If you develop symptoms:
    • Call your health care provider immediately and tell them you have been to China
    • Avoid contact with other people
    • Follow the directions of your provider and public health officials.

The CDC has issued a Level 3 travel warning for all of China. This means that people should avoid nonessential travel to this province. The U.S. State Department has issued a Level 4 travel advisory warning people not to travel to China.