Preparing For Coronavirus, But Flu Still Bigger Concern For Local Health Department
County and city agencies met Monday at the Kanawha Charleston Health Department to work out a plan if the Coronavirus were to come to West Virginia.
The meeting was closed to the public, but afterward health officer Dr. Sherri Young spoke with the press. She said the discussions centered around where is the disease now, what do they need to do to keep the public healthy and what public health agencies need to do to prepare if COVID-19 spreads to West Virginia.
“If people were to be in isolation for long periods of time, how are we going to feed them?” She said. “How are we going to address bigger events that may be coming to the area so we are very sensitive to the economy and economic impact?”
Right now she said, local health, school and government officials are planning just in case. It’s what they do anytime a new disease or virus like Avian Flu or Ebola seems to be hitting the global stage.
“We have to be prepared for every scenario moving forward to make sure that if we do see it, if it is an inevitability, we can take care of everyone.”
Young said the risk of contracting COVID-19 for the average West Virginian is low right now.
“The transmission of COVID-19 is very unlikely in this area at this time so one of our bigger concerns is flu...So in the CDC’s guidance they are still recommending number one people have their flu shot for the season, number two if you have a fever or are sick, stay home and so that’s a big thing that’s going to help us contain an outbreak if we were to see community spread.”
But she said health officials will continue to watch the progression carefully and work out a plan so that the response is ready if it is needed. The group plans to meet again in two weeks to see if further action is needed.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from Marshall Health and Charleston Area Medical Center.