Information About the Coronavirus Outbreak

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Novel Coronavirus



As a part of its ongoing mission to provide local governments with critical and time-sensitive information to assist their communities, including all-hazards response plans, SGR is closely following the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak that originated in the City of Wuhan, China in December 2019.

The pathogen responsible for this outbreak is a new (novel) coronavirus that is genetically similar to the viruses that caused the SARS outbreak in 2002/2003 in China and the MERS outbreak in the Middle East in 2014.   

SGR is providing up-to-date information and resources on our website about the Coronavirus. Many of our larger local government partners likely already have this data and tracking in place through their public health offices, and they should be the first point of contact. For our smaller local government partners without the resources to provide this information, SGR is serving as an information broker to fill the need for our partners to provide this information to their communities. 

SGR will be assisting its local government partners in emergency preparedness by:

  1. Providing COVID-19 situation reports and links to relevant information on its website.
  2. Offering, when completed, a revised version of SGR’s “2009 H1N1 Pandemic Influenza Planning Manual-with COOP (Continuity of Operations Plan) Component.”  The new pandemic planning manual will have revised COOP components that will address emerging and novel pathogens (inclusive of COVID-19) which are capable of causing a pandemic.


  • On December 31, 2019, the Chinese government announced an outbreak of a pneumonia of unknown cause affecting several patients in Wuhan;
  • On January 3, 2020, Chinese officials reported 44 cases of this pneumonia illness;
  • By January 11, 2020, this infectious disease had spread to dozens of more people – Chinese officials informed the World Health Organization (WHO) that the common source may be a seafood market in Wuhan and that a new coronavirus had been identified in several of these patients; Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause disease in several species of animals and are one of several virus types which cause the common cold in people.
  • By January 20, 2020, this outbreak had spread to Thailand, Japan, and South Korea;
  • On January 30, 2020, WHO officially declared the COVID-19 outbreak to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)
  • On January 31, 2010 the WHO and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report just under 10,000 confirmed cases in 26 countries, with 213 deaths.  There have been six cases confirmed in the United States: two in Illinois, two in California, and one each in Arizona and Washington State. The first human-to-human transmission in the US involves the Chicago, IL cases.  One woman who returned from a trip to Wuhan developed the illness and has now infected her husband. 

News, Updates & Resources

In response to this ongoing public health emergency, Johns Hopkins University has developed an online dashboard (static snapshot shown below) to visualize and track the reported cases on a daily timescale.

Coronavirus dashboard map JHU

February 19, 2020 @ 4 pm CST

From February 15, 2020 to February 19, 2020, the COVID-19 epidemic situational update includes:

  1. Globally, there have been 75,280 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 2,014 deaths.
  2. The Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in Yokohama, Japan is in the process of releasing hundreds of passengers, who have completed their 14-day quarantine period.The US has transferred most of its citizens off this ship, back to military bases in the US.As many as 14 of the nearly 400 Americans returned from the Diamond Princess may be infected with COVID-19, and are being treated at US locations. A total of 624 passengers and crew on this ship has been infected with coronavirus.
  3. The MS Westerdam cruise ship, docked in Sihanoukville, Cambodia has now allowed its passengers to disembark. Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom have sent charter flights to retrieve their citizens who had been on the Westerdam. One US citizen on this ship was allowed to leave, and later developed coronavirus infection. Cambodian and US officials are performing contact tracing on persons she may have exposed.
  4. The US State Department has now issued a second travel advisory for a country based on the presence of coronavirus. The first country the State Department advised against travel was mainland China, the second is Hong Kong.
  5. Twenty-seven infectious disease scientists from around the world have signed a joint-letter which debunks the several conspiracy theories which allege that COVID-19 coronavirus did not actually originate in a wildlife species in China, but was accidentally released from a virus research laboratory in Wuhan, China.These experts state emphatically that this new coronavirus has a mammalian origin, and like previous coronavirus outbreaks, may have originated in bats from Hubei Province.
  6. The country of Singapore now reports 84 cases, with confirmed person-to-person transmission.
  7. On February 18, China expelled three reporters from the Wall Street Journal for publishing articles that are critical of China’s response to COVID-19.
  8. Iran has reported its first two cases of COVID-19, in two elderly Iranian citizens.
  9. Adidas reports an 85% drop in shoe sales within China.
  10. The WHO has now shipped COVID-19 test kits to 56 countries.
  11. The United Arab Emirates now reports 9 cases of COVID-19.


Novel Coronavirus: Symptoms & Transmission

Information from CDC

2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a virus (more specifically, a coronavirus) identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. Early on, many of the patients in the outbreak in Wuhan, China reportedly had some link to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. However, a growing number of patients reportedly have not had exposure to animal markets, indicating person-to-person spread is occurring. At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people. 

Latest Situation Summary Updates from CDC

The latest situation summary updates are available on CDC’s web site.


SGR is pleased to have Bill Peterson, Former Regional DHS / FEMA Director, and John Teel, Former Local Health Department Director, reviewing and answering submitted questions* focused on Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) concepts and potentially disruptive forces to provision of city/county services should novel coronavirus have a high incidence in US cities and communities.

Questions and answers will not be answered individually, but will be posted on SGR's Coronavirus FAQ page. 

*Patient healthcare advice will not be provided. Please contact your physician or local health authority for patient healthcare and medical advice. 

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