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Amid coronavirus outbreak, Idaho health officials say wash your hands and remain calm

"Wash our hands often, avoid shaking hands, sanitize surfaces, stay home if you are sick," said Washington Gov. Inslee.

BOISE, Idaho — Fourteen people in Idaho are being monitored for the novel coronavirus but there are no confirmed cases. The Department of Health and Welfare explained the risk of contracting the virus in the Gem State is very low.

As of Tuesday morning, there were no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Idaho. Thirty-three people in total have been monitored for possible coronavirus; of those, six are still being monitored.   

Three people have been tested, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, and none of those tests have come back positive. 

To lessen your chances of getting sick, health officials say use some common-sense practices.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee reiterated this advice while speaking to reporters on Monday after six people died in Washington state from the coronavirus.

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"Wash our hands often, avoid shaking hands, sanitize surfaces and most importantly, I want to emphasize this because it might be one of the more difficult thing, stay home if you are sick," Gov. Inslee said.

Symptoms of the flu can also be mistaken for coronavirus and we are in the middle of flu season, according to Katy Dudley, a safety officer at Saint Alphonsus.

Dudley said if you become sick and have a fever and cough, see your doctor where you will first be tested for the flu, then healthcare professionals will determine if you should be tested for coronavirus.

"We look at the travel history of the patient, symptoms of the patient and with that combination, if it meets criteria to follow up with public health, how we would proceed with lab specimen collection and their testing for that patient," she said.

MORE: Gov. Little says Idaho is 'carefully and closely monitoring the novel coronavirus'

The Department of Health and Welfare said 80% of people who become infected with coronavirus only experience flu symptoms.

The elderly and medical fragile are the most at risk.

Out of an abundance of caution, the City of Nampa announced they are doubling down on hygiene efforts for an upcoming sporting event expected to draw thousands of people.

"Regarding the basketball tournament, the Ford Idaho Center is on top of it and they have extra sanitation measures in place," said Nampa Mayor Debbie Kling.

Overall, officials say the best way to protect yourself from becoming sick is to use common sense health practices and remain calm.

To put the coronavirus numbers in context, millions of Americans get the flu every single year and there are thousands of flu deaths annually. Since October 2019, the CDC estimates around 32 million Americans have gotten the flu. That’s one in every 10 Americans. 

Since the coronavirus outbreak began late last year, there have been around 80,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in China. That means those cases account for just around .0056% of China's population.

Gretchen Parsons is an anchor, reporter and producer at KTVB since 2016. You can follow her on Instagram @gretchenparsonsKTVB or  @gretchenKTVB on Twitter.

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