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2019 Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

A new coronavirus is causing an outbreak of pneumonia. The virus was first identified in December 2019, among people who visited a seafood and animal market in Wuhan City, China. Health authorities have confirmed that the virus is able to spread from person to person. Cases have been identified in the United States.

If either of the following are true, call the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) at (505) 827-0006:

  • You have fever, cough, or shortness of breath, and in the 14 days before your symptoms started, you visited mainland China or were in contact with a person known to have novel coronavirus
  • You do not have fever, cough, or shortness of breath, but you did travel to mainland China in the last 14 days or were in contact with a person known to have novel coronavirus

Cases of COVID-19

Confirmed cases in New Mexico: 0

The number of confirmed cases in the United States is available at the CDC's COVID-19 web page.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the symptoms of novel coronavirus?

People with novel coronavirus have reported symptoms of fever, cough, or trouble breathing. Symptoms of coronavirus may also include runny nose, headache, sore throat, and a general feeling of being unwell.

I recently traveled to China and now have cough, fever, or shortness of breath. What should I do?

  • Seek medical care right away. If possible, call ahead and tell them about your symptoms and recent travel, so that the medical team can prepare for your arrival and have a mask ready for you.
  • Other than seeking medical care, stay home and avoid contact with other people.
  • Avoid further travel until your illness resolves.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands).
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

I was in China within the last 14 days, but I don’t have any symptoms. What should I do?

  • Call the 24/7 Epidemiology On-Call line at 505-827-0006. We will assess your risk of exposure and determine what level of monitoring will be recommended. We may need to check in with you daily until you have passed 14 days since leaving China, and we may ask you to limit your exposures to other people to keep from spreading an infection during this time before any symptoms appear.

Should I wear a mask?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend that people wear masks to protect themselves from respiratory viruses, including COVID-19. You should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it. A facemask should be used by people who have been exposed to COVID-19, and who have symptoms. This is to protect other people from the risk of getting infected. Masks are also crucial for healthcare workers and other people who are taking care of someone who has COVID-19 at home or in a healthcare facility.

Where did the virus come from?

The virus most likely originated from an animal at the Wuhan seafood and animal market. Other coronaviruses have been found in a variety of animals, including bats, camels, civet cats, swine, and ferrets, among others. The animal reservoir for this new virus has not been determined yet.

How does the virus spread?

The virus likely spreads in the same way as other coronaviruses: through respiratory droplets spread by coughing or sneezing.

How long does it take to get sick after being exposed?

The maximum incubation period for most coronaviruses, or the time from exposure to getting sick, is up to 14 days.

Who is at risk of getting novel coronavirus?

Early cases visited the seafood and animal market in Wuhan City, China, while later cases have been in close contact with someone who had the novel coronavirus. However, some cases have reported no exposure to either the market or to known cases. The vast majority of cases are in China. The CDC currently considers the general American public to be at low risk of exposure, but given the rapidly evolving situation, you can get an up-to-date summary at the CDC 2019 Novel Coronavirus Risk Assesment Summary page.

What’s the difference between a coronavirus and a novel coronavirus?

There are already several known types of coronaviruses, named for the crown-like shape the viruses have. Coronaviruses cause a wide spectrum of disease. Some are common and cause mild, seasonal colds. Others are less common and can be more serious, like the ones that cause Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome SARS and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome MERS-CoV. We don’t know enough about this new, or novel, coronavirus to say where on the spectrum it fits.

What is being done to prevent the virus from spreading?

  • People arriving in the United States from China are being funneled to one of 11 airports that are screening travelers from China for illness.
  • Travelers from China with respiratory symptoms are being isolated and medically evaluated for testing, while travelers from China with no symptoms are being asked to stay home for 14 days from their last day in China. In New Mexico, NMDOH will actively monitor those travelers for new symptoms.
  • Passengers arriving from China to other airports around the world are also being screened for illness.
  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and NMDOH have issued alerts to medical providers informing them about the illness, how to screen patients, and what to do if they have a patient with suspected novel coronavirus.
  • The CDC has developed a test to diagnose COVID-19, and has distributed it to all public health labs in the United States. These tests still need to be validated in each state before they are ready to use, but testing is expected to be available at the NMDOH state lab in the coming weeks.

Is there a vaccine?

Not yet, although development has started. When a new disease is discovered, it can take years for a vaccine to be developed and properly studied to make sure it is safe and effective.

Is there a treatment?

There is no specific treatment for coronaviruses. Most people will recover on their own. However, in the early stages of this outbreak, it is best to seek medical care right away.

What can I do to protect myself?

Just like with many other illnesses, the best way to protect yourself is to wash your hands regularly, to cough or sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue, and when possible, to avoid contact with people who are coughing or sneezing.

Where are the affected areas?

The list of other countries with novel coronavirus cases changes rapidly. The most up-to-date map of affected areas can be found at the CDC Confirmed 2019-nCoV Cases Globally page.

I am planning to travel to one of the affected areas. What should I do?

The CDC recommends avoiding all non-essential travel to China. If you are already in China or are visiting another country that has reported COVID-19 cases, be sure to wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Avoid people who are sick. Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and uncooked meat.


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Information for the Public

Information for Clinicians

Information for Laboratories