Cases of coronavirus increasing in US; is our area prepared?


SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – If cases of the coronavirus had not gotten your attention, many in the U.S. are getting concerned now. Nationally, there are more than 50 confirmed cases.

However, Dr. Lawton Davis, the director for the Coastal Health District, says the good news is there no confirmed cases in Georgia.

“And we have no travelers who are under quarantine in Georgia,” Davis added.

Still, he does acknowledge there is much to be aware of and says many in his position nationwide are hearing from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

“They’re concerned just because it’s not going away and they’re encouraging people to begin thinking about how we might react should it actually arrive on our doorstep,” said Davis.

He says, for the most part, the public can think about it like they might a “really bad outbreak of influenza.”

Davis said a few years ago, the local health district established a plan to deal with a potential flu pandemic.

“Just in general, we might be thinking about encouraging employers to allow people to work from home and teleconference instead of face to face,” he explained. “You know, the same thing with schools if it were to get really bad.”

Davis said it’s too early to make predictions about school closures or other measures — but hopes the public may feel some reassurance that local and state health officials have some contingency plans in place.

He showed News 3 information that says 2,698 people have died worldwide from the virus with up to 80,000 cases reported.

“We have been fairly aggressive in Georgia in terms of screening people that come through Atlanta,” said Davis. “Ships that come into port here (in Savannah) or in Brunswick actually submit a report 96 hours before they come into port and they’re required to report fever, rash, and any known illnesses.”

His message to locals, for now, is “don’t overreact.”

Davis says those planning to travel overseas may want to be more cautious and check with the CDC.

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