Doctors Notes:

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Jeanne R. Poel

2019 Novel Coronavirus 

In recent weeks there has been much news coverage about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. Parents and patients are curious about what this means for them specifically. Is this something that we need to be worrying about here in Holland, Michigan? The immediate health risk to the general public in the U.S. is considered low at this time, but is being carefully monitored.. Let’s discuss some background information on this virus and how to protect your family. 

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can cause illness like the common cold. Some strains of the virus cause illness in people and others cause illness in animals. There are so many different strains of coronaviruses circulating routinely that we all have likely been infected with one of them at some point in our lives. Normally it causes a mild to moderate common cold like illness. 

The new coronavirus called the 2019 novel coronavirus was discovered in Wuhan City, China, in December 2019. Evidence is showing that it likely spread from animals to humans, similar to the SARS and MERS coronaviruses seen in previous years. We know that it is contagious among humans as well but it is still not known how easily it can spread from person to person. People who have recently traveled from China are undergoing specific risk assessment directed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Anyone who has any identifiable risk for 2019 novel coronavirus infection is undergoing appropriate testing and quarantine procedures. 

2019 Novel Coronavirus Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Body aches
  • Tiredness
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea 


Preventing 2019 Novel Coronavirus from spreading

There is no vaccine currently available to prevent 2019 novel coronavirus infection. The best prevention at this time is to avoid exposure to persons infected with this virus. This is achieved by the quarantine procedures for recent travelers implemented by the CDC and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Common sense ways of preventing other types of viral illnesses also apply to preventing 2019 novel coronavirus infection. 

  • Frequent handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • If your child is ill, keep them home. 
  • Avoid contact with others who are ill.
  • Teach your children to cough and sneeze into their elbow or arm and not their hands. 
  • Clean and disinfect shared household surfaces such as doorknobs, cabinet handles, faucets, etc.   
  • Avoid travel to China until the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak has passed, follow travel advisories to other countries

We are continuing to monitor the Coronavirus outbreak carefully. Children have been the least sick with this virus so far.  Currently, influenza is still very prevalent in our community. We continue to encourage the Influenza vaccine to prevent Influenza as well as hopefully have less illness circulating in the community if and when the Coronavirus does come to Michigan.

Below is a helpful link from the Ottawa County Health Department.  There is more information about the virus, ways to help stay healthy and ways to prepare.

To stay up to date on the situation with 2019 novel coronavirus, please see the resources below:,5885,7-339-71550_5104_97675—,00.html