‘Have a thermometer’ and watch for fevers above 100.5 on coronavirus, says Kansas Health Secretary

Information on the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 is still in short supply, with researchers working hard to determine how it spreads and what causes varied symptoms like gastrointestinal distress and repository problems.

Tests for the virus are still not widely available, but one thing that seems to unite all known cases is a fever, said State Health Secretary Dr. Lee Norman in a half-hour news conference on Wednesday afternoon.

Asked how people can determine if they might have a mild case in the absence of widespread testing, Dr. Norman said they need to buy a thermometer.

“I think one of the best is fever. Virtually every coronavirus patient we’ve heard of, at some point along the way, and usually at the beginning of the disease, had a fever,” Norman said. “And not, ‘oh, I feel feverish.’ But actually, take a temperature. That would be a good thing for people to do, have a thermometer—it sounds like a basic thing, but that’s a good thing for people to do.”

“It’s kind of hard to call it a coronavirus unless you have a fever, and it probably won’t even be tested for,” Norman said.

How high does the fever have to be to qualify?

“Something I can say definitely: 100.5 or greater,” he told reporters Wednesday.

There was some good news for the Sunflower State, as lightly populated Western Kansas stands to be “a little different ballgame.”

“Coronavirus does well when people are crowded together,” he said. “That’s why it emanated from China…. Western Kansas, I think it will protect them, to a degree.”

Watch the full press conference below.

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