Abilene health leaders prepared for possibility of coronavirus

Health News

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Abilene community leaders say they have plans in place if the coronavirus becomes a health issue locally, though they say the risk is low.

While coronavirus has killed thousands overseas, the chance of an outbreak in the Big Country is minimal.

“We have received a decent number of calls” Julia Agawu, an epidemiologist with the Taylor County Public Health District says.

Agawu’s department has received questions from doctors on what to watch for — just in case they suspect a patient comes in with the virus.

“So the main symptoms are fever, shortness of breath and cough,” Agawu explains.

The doctor would then take a sample swab from the patient — it would be tested by the CDC and if coronavirus is present they would quarantine the patient at a hospital or at home then contact those they came in contact with.

“We’d ask them if they went to work, went to school, and follow up with all those people they came into contact with,” Agawu says. “We do always want to be on the lookout for the next disease because you never know where it’s going to come from.”

Beth Lantrip, an Infection Preventionist at Hendrick Medical Center, says their staff is also prepared.

“We have added screening questions to catch anything that should come through our doors pretty quickly,” Lantrip says.

And while an epidemic is unlikely, Lantrip says medical staff is prepared to help patients to the best of their ability.

“We don’t pick the disease we just treat it,” Lantrip says.

The health officials say the best ways to avoid getting sick or spreading germs is to wash your hands frequently and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.

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