SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The threat of a coronavirus outbreak is now a reality in the US.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirms there are 59 cases across seven states and health officials right here in Chatham county are preparing.
They say at this point it’s all about teamwork, multiple agencies from local school systems to the department of public health are looking at the “what ifs”‘ No cases have been confirmed here in Georgia or South Carolina, but emergency rooms are on high alert.
“Right now there is no community spread certainly we are preparing, as we should,” said Rita Allen, an Infection Preventionist at St.
For Allen, it’s a waiting game. The coronavirus is here in the US and the CDC said it will spread.
“If somebody had a positive travel history and matching symptoms or contact with anyone that has traveled and had symptoms,” said Allen. “Then, we would appropriately isolate.”
If there were to be an outbreak Allen said medical personnel will have special equipment as they treat patients.
“So, that’s an N95 mask, goggles or face shield, a gown, and gloves,” said Allen.
Everyday Allen is taking her cues from the CDC and state and county health departments.
The Coastal Health District already has a plan that includes monitoring what’s going on abroad, listening to the experts and relaying that information to the public.
“It would be a multi-partner discussion,” said Dr. Lawton Davis, District Health Director for the Coastal Health District. “We would be talking with the State Department of Public Health, CDC, the Education Department, local school system,” he said. “You know officials, EMA, so you know it would not just be one person calling the shot.”
Dr. Lawson said it’s important to treat it just like the flu; wash your hands, stay home if you’re sick, and avoid touching your eyes and mouth.
“Think about it more like influenza it’s very possible that it could spread and we could have an actual disease here or in Georgia or even the Savannah area,” said Lawson.
Because emergency rooms are busy this time of year health professionals suggest using telehealth, which gives you the opportunity to video chat with a doctor if you think you’re sick.