The Montrose County Coroner and other officials are reminding the public that no coronavirus-19 deaths have been confirmed locally.

“Coronavirus” is a term for a group of illnesses, including the common cold, Dr. Thomas Canfield, coroner, said.

Coronavirus-19, also called COVID-19, is a new strain of the virus, which causes respiratory illness, and which was first identified in Wuhan, China. The disease has afflicted people in more than two dozen countries and led to the deaths of more than 1,600; all but four of the deaths have been on the Chinese mainland, according to published reports.

The disease is showing a 2 to 3 percent death rate.

After television reports that a Montrose woman who died had “coronavirus” listed among the multiple causes on her death certificate, someone contacted the Montrose Police Department, which in turn contacted Canfield for more information.

Canfield said the woman’s death was the result of “significant other conditions” and not from coronavirus-19. He did not see her death certificate, because her death was natural and did not fall under his jurisdiction. Had it constituted a public health matter, Canfield would have jurisdiction, he said.

Again, “coronavirus” is the name for a family of viruses causing respiratory illness, Canfield said.

The United States declared a public health emergency Jan. 31, to help the medical community in responding to coronavirus-19. About 60 cases have been diagnosed nationwide; one, in northern California, was diagnosed in a person who had not traveled outside the U.S. or been in contact with anyone known to have the virus.

The coronavirus-19 strain’s symptoms can include fever, cough, and, especially, shortness of breath. These typically appear within two and 14 days of exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People who show symptoms of the virus should wear a face mask.

There is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, and the CDC recommends everyday practices to help prevent the spread of such illness, including avoiding close contact with those who are sick; staying home when you are sick, washing your hands, cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces and covering when you cough or sneeze.

“There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses,” the CDC says.

“COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. The name of this disease was selected following the World Health Organization (WHO) best practices for naming of new human infectious diseases.”

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