City leaders respond to spread of Coronavirus - FOX34 Lubbock

City leaders respond to spread of Coronavirus

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Lubbock reports no cases of COVID-19 in our area, but city leaders said they are prepared. A doctor said this afternoon it's unavoidable. Containing the Coronavirus and remaining calm falls on us.

Mayor Dan Pope emphasizes the city takes the Coronavirus seriously. 

"Together we're planning for this and we're prepared for whatever we might encounter," Mayor Pope said.

There are more than 115,000 cases worldwide and at least 32 in Texas. Doctor Ron Cook said COVID-19 seems to be more infectious than the flu.

"Our immune system hasn't seen this virus before and that's why it's effecting us so severely," Dr. Cook said.

In an effort to keep everyone safe, Public Health Director Katherine Wells said we all need to be vigilant. Namely, limit the number of visits to elderly people in hospitals. Dr. Cook's solution is social distancing.

"It's going to come to Lubbock, it's going to come and if we can keep sick patient have home, that don't need to be out and about, and running around, than we can push this, it's called flattening the curve and push this to the right," Dr. Cook said.

The Department will be inspecting all suspected cases of Coronavirus. City Manager Jarrett Atkinson said although the virus is new, the response plan isn't.

"I want to assure you today, we have those plans, plans are long standing, they're all being game planned as we go today," Atkinson said.

The Novel Coronavirus was originally reported in China. Doctor Jacob Nichols said its Health Authorities were initially up front and even alerted other nations to help prepare them. That's not the case anymore.

"They were upfront with their mortality rates, it's definitely plateaued, so there have been a lot of people asking has it really plateaued or are they just not reporting numbers anymore," Nichols said.

From Universities being shut down, to Italy's nationwide restriction on movement, worldwide, events are being canceled and place are closing due to COVID-19.

"We anticipate that it's going to spread more throughout the United States, but we don't want to just give it a free pass and spread in large groups if we can avoid it," Nichols said.

Nichols is an Infectious Disease Physician in the Health Sciences Center. He said everyone is in danger.

"For younger, healthy individuals, the risk of getting the infection is the same across the board, but those who are going to have more severe disease are much more likely in the older or those with chronic medical conditions," Nichols said.

As for treatment, Nichols said the process is accelerating.

"To my understanding, they are doing the clinical trials now, so I think once they have enough patients enrolled and enough data to give some sort of information, they will release that, so I hope within the next few months," Nichols said.

Experts said stock-piling and wearing masks may not be necessary. If you are sick, wear a surgical mask. It won't help you from catching anything, but it will keep you from spreading an illness. Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face. Unlike the flu, Coronavirus symptoms may take a few days to pop up. If you have a runny nose, sore throat, cough and fever, call your doctor to get tested. Currently, antibiotics won't help.

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