Columbus health officials discuss preparing for Coronavirus following warning of spread across the U.S.

Columbus health officials discuss preparing for Coronavirus following warning of spread across the U

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - As new clusters of the Coronavirus are popping up worldwide, many countries are trying to limit exposure with travel restrictions and business closings.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a new warning that it’s not a matter of “if,” but when the Coronavirus will spread in U.S. communities.

Pamela Kirkland with the Columbus Health Department said she’s hopeful that Coronavirus cases will be less of a threat as we enter into springtime.

“With other respiratory illnesses with the warmer weather, the numbers tend to go down. So, hopefully this respiratory illness will act like those, but we always want to be prepared so that’s always a good thing. And because it is a respiratory like the flu, those same precautions would apply to the Coronavirus," Kirkland said.

Those precautions include washing your hands, cleaning common surfaces like door knobs, and staying home if you feel sick.

The World Health Organization reports the Coronavirus has spread to more than 30 countries.

“When we first found out about it, most of the cases were direct contact and now we’re starting to see a little more of community contact," Kirkland explained.

The U.S. already has some travel restrictions in place, but air travel still concerns one Columbus resident.

“I travel a lot," Nadine Jenkins said. “What do we do? Do we put a mask over your face? I mean, I heard that by putting the mask on your face it doesn’t. It still will spread. So what do they do about that?”

With Columbus being one of the Peach State’s largest cities, Mayor Skip Henderson said local officials are keeping up with the latest Coronavirus updates.

“The folks at our Homeland Security and the Emergency Management folks are staying in touch with the CDC and all the reps from the Atlanta area and they’re monitoring it closely. Right now, they still say that there’s little to no danger here in Muscogee County," Henderson said.

Jenkins said she hopes Americans are prepared if the Coronavirus spreads throughout the U.S.

“I just hope that they have a plan. Like I said, don’t wait until it comes. Act on it right now," Jenkins explained.

Kirkland said symptoms between the flu and Coronavirus are pretty similar, but the main difference is the shortness of breath that comes with the Coronavirus.

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