The novel coronavirus hasn't been reported in Wyoming as of Wednesday, but public health officials in Natrona County want residents to brush up on the most effective means of preventing its spread.

COVID-19 has been observed spreading among travelers who have returned to the United States from China and other areas of the outbreak, according to an update Tuesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, there is currently no community spread of the virus in the US.

"COVID-19 is thought to spread person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another, through coughing or sneezing by means of respiratory droplets," Casper-Natrona County Health Department spokeswoman Hailey Bloom said in a news release Wednesday.

"The most effective means of prevention, as with many viruses including influenza, is to maintain standard precautions that help reduce risk of transmission," Bloom added.

These precautions include:

  • Avoiding close contact with anyone who is sick;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
  • Stay home if you're sick;
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and dispose of the tissue in a trash bin;
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using regular household cleaning solutions;
  • Frequent and adequate hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after bathroom use, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap isn't available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if visibly dirty.

Despite the international concern over COVID-19, Dr. Mark Dowell says seasonal influenza is still more of a threat in Natrona County.

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