SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Across the globe, China is the epicenter for the deadly Coronavirus.
There have been 17 deaths and more than 600 cases. So far, just one case has been reported in the U.S.
Doctors in Savannah talked about the local impact and preparations underway now.
Health officials at Memorial Health say they are looking closely at the Novel Coronavirus because there is still so much to learn about the outbreak that has so many alarmed.
“The unknown is what drives a lot of fear," said Dr. Stephen Thacker, Director of Pediatric Infectious Disease and Associate Chief Medical Officer for Memorial Health. "I think we’ll learn a lot in the coming days about the virus and how it’s spreads from person to person.”
What we do know is that this virus is a part of the Coronavirus family - including other forms like the common cold, sars and more. Symptoms have been reported in a range of mild to severe fever, cough and shortness of breath according to the Centers for Disease Control.
While there are hundreds of cases in China, only one confirmed cases has hit the U.S.
“When we look at what we know now on where this is spreading, while we do have once case in Washington state outside of Seattle, the likelihood this poses a very significant threat to folks in the U.S. is probably low. But, we still need to remain vigilant as we understand more of what’s going on.”
With this being a new virus there is no vaccine and testing has to be sent to the CDC. Doctors at Memorial Health say with Savannah being a popular destination and port city, they will be asking visitors about their travel history.
“If we find that a patient has come from China or one of the affected countries that the virus is in now, we then act to protect the patients we have in our walls as well as our staff and their families.”
Treatment for Novel Coronavirus is symptomatic.
The Savannah Hilton Head International Airport says they don’t have any direct flights with China, but they are monitoring the virus and staying on top of what other airports are doing. Additionally, they say their emergency planning does cover infectious diseases.
SCAD sent us this statement, “The safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff are the university’s top priorities. Therefore, SCAD is closely monitoring the situation in China and actively communicating with our student body from the impacted region. Out of an abundance of caution, the university is equipping them with information about symptoms and university wellness resources.”
Georgia Southern University sent the following statement, “Student Health Services clinics on both campuses will continue to screen persons presenting with fever and/or acute respiratory illness for recent travel history, and will respond to any who appear to be at risk for 2019 nCoV as per current CDC recommendations.”
While leaders here say the concern isn’t high for our area, they say you should avoid contact with those who’ve traveled to the infected areas, and wash your hands.