WVDHHR prepares for potential Coronavirus outbreak in WV

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A rendering of coronavirus via the CDC.

CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resource (DHHR) Bureau of Public Health announced it is prepared for the potential spread of the coronavirus.

In this point in time, there have been no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in West Virginia. The release states most West Virginians are unlikely to be exposed to the virus, and the immediate health risk is low.

“We are working to ensure our health systems, emergency management agencies, first responders and county health departments are prepared and have the resources they need to respond to localized outbreaks in West Virginia communities,” State Health Officer and Commissioner of DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health Dr. Cathy Slemp stated. 

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), due to the rapidly changing nature of the spread of the virus around the world, it is important for families and businesses to prepare now for potential community spread.

There have been more than 80,000 cases worldwide, including 2,700 deaths as of February 25, 2020. In the United States there are 57 cases. Since the virus is new, there is little to no immunity against it, which made the virus spread a lot easier and quicker.

“While the immediate risk of (coronavirus) to West Virginians is believed to be low at this time, everyone can do their part to help us respond to this emerging public health threat,” added Dr. Slemp. “It’s currently flu and respiratory disease season, so DHHR recommends everyone 6 months of age and older get a flu vaccine. Take every day preventative actions to stop the spread of germs, such as washing your hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes, cleaning surfaces and staying home from work or school if you are sick.”

Governor Jim Justice urged the DHHR to monitor the outbreak and maintain communication and outreach with federal, state and local public health partners. Tools are being developed to inform, prepare, and respond to localized outbreaks of coronavirus in healthcare, business, and educational settings including childcare.

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