December 31, 2019: Pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan, China was first reported to the WHO Country Office in China.
January 15, 2020: A man returns to the US from Wuhan China.
January 19, 2020: The man presents to an urgent care clinic in Snohomoish County, Washington with a 4-day history of cough and subjective fever (see Holshue ML, et a. First case of 2019 novel coronavirus in the United States. NEJM, 2020: 382:929-36. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2001191)
January 27, 2020: An individual returning to Toronto from Wuhan, Huebi, China tests positive for SARS-CoV-2.
January 30, 2020: The outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the WHO.
February 11, 2020: The WHO announces “COVID-19” is the new name for the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2.
February 20, 2020: The CDC releases guidelines for coding encounters related to COVID-19 using existing ICD-10 codes; the guidance recommends use of “other” codes for those confirmed with COVID-19 in the categories of pneumonia, acute bronchitis, lower respiratory infections, acute respiratory distress syndrome, “contact with and (suspected) exposure to other viral communicable diseases;” when a definitive diagnosis for COVID-19 has not been established, the routine codes for cough (R04), shortness of breath (R06.02) and fever unspecified (R50.9) should be noted. Suspected cases were not to be reported. It is important to note that this guidance was based on testing, guidelines for which required travel or close contact with someone who had recently traveled to Wuhan, China, in addition to symptoms.