PPHD: No Need To Panic Over Coronavirus

HEMINGFORD – Local health officials say there’s no reason to panic over the Coronavirus, which has led to the end of nearly all airline flights to China, quarantines on travelers returning from China, and lockdowns of major Chinese cities.

Panhandle Public Health District Director Kim Engel the risk of area residents becoming ill is low, with only 11 confirmed cases in the entire United States as of Tuesday with none in Nebraska or surrounding states.

Engel says Coronavirus doesn’t spread easily from human to human, and that the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus the same way that you would avoid getting the flu or a cold – avoiding close contact with those who are sick and wash your hands or use sanitizer frequently.

Disease surveillance specialist Kendra Lauruhn says PPHD “already has plans in place for this kind of situation and is putting those plans into action,” adding that although “the situation is continually changing, with new developments daily, PPHD is working with state and national partners to monitor the situation and is receiving and passing along the most current guidance.”

PPHD emergency preparedness coordinator Michelle Hill says they’re working closely with local preparedness partners in the 12 counties they serve – including hospitals, healthcare professionals, and emergency managers – “sharing the most current guidelines and recommendations and making sure we have everything in place to respond” should any local cases of Coronavirus show up

Even though the current risk is low, Hill encourages Panhandle residents to stay informed, with the CDC website having the most up-to-date and accurate information and guidance with Frequently Asked Questions, fact sheets, updated information on cases, recommendations for travelers and travel restrictions, and guidelines for health professionals and labs.

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