Savannah member of coronavirus task force offers advice


SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – If you’ve been watching briefings with Georgia Governor Brian Kemp on the coronavirus you may have noticed Savannah’s Ben Watson at every one of them.

“This is really a fast-moving situation and we’ve had to adapt,” says Watson who is a state senator and also a doctor.

The task force has talked about testing and personal hygiene. As a physician, Watson has advice about Savannah’s biggest event of the year: the St. Patrick’s Day parade.

“I have plans to be in the parade and I don’t plan on shaking hands,” said Watson. “If I do, I’m going to use a hand sanitizer.”

Watson told us Tuesday morning he was certainly aware of concerns about holding the parade but said at that point he was “not aware of any plans to cancel the event.”

He urges people to wash hands frequently if they can or bring sanitizer, and cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue.

“I think they’ve already talked about not kissing soldiers and things like that,” Watson added.

He also told us that elderly who have health issues like lung problems or even compromised diabetes should avoid large crowds.

“If you’re going to an event like that, then you don’t need to take your 75-year-old mother. You don’t need to go there if your diabetes is out of control,” said the state senator. “You don’t need to be in big crowds like that, so I think that applies to the St. Patrick’s Day parade.”

He also told News 3 that even those in generally good health who aren’t always considered “elderly” need to be cautious as well.

“It is a serious illness the older you are if your immune system is not as good,” said Watson. “What is old? In the United States we’re telling people 60 years and above, but certainly, as you get older if you have chronic illnesses then that makes you at high risk.”

Watson believes the task force has done a good of keeping people informed and says things are changing quickly.

“Last week at this time we had only had one or two cases,” said Watson. “If anything positive comes out of this it is that we are recognizing that you need to be using hand sanitizer if you cannot wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds under the faucet.”

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