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3 being monitored for coronavirus in North Dakota

A strain of the novel coronavirus originating in Wuhan, China, as viewed through an electron microscope. (Photo courtesy of the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

BISMARCK -- As of Tuesday, Feb. 11, three people who have returned to North Dakota from China are being monitored for coronavirus and are voluntarily practicing social distancing, which means they’re staying away from people other than immediate family members, according to a statement released from the North Dakota Department of Health.

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

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

There have been no cases of coronavirus 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,” Kruger said.

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.