DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Covid-19 is now a worldwide concern.
“Other people are getting it who weren’t necessarily in Wuhan,” says Dean Courtney in downtown Dallas. “We are concerned.”
And he is not alone.
“I make sure I wash my hands a lot more,” shared LaTanya Daniels, who added that she is also more conscious of maintaining her overall health.
Meanwhile, Dallas County leaders are facing the coronavirus threat with preparation, urging common sense prevention and also asking the community to keep the threat in perspective.
“We understand their panic… we understand the fear,” says Dr. Brad Sellers, Director of Emergency Medicine at Methodist Dallas. “There’s so much information that can scare you.” But, Dr. Sellers is also quick to point out that the seasonal flu is right now the more prolific killer blamed for some 10,000 deaths each year in the U.S. alone. “That doesn’t say they shouldn’t be concerned…and they shouldn’t take precautions like washing hands, staying home when they’re sick.”
He says the Methodist Health System is meeting and preparing right now to respond to any coronavirus patients, agreeing with the CDC assessment that it is not a matter of “if,” but “when” the coronavirus begins to spread in the U.S.
According to Dr. Sellers, the North Texas medical community learned a lot during the 2019 Ebola scare.
Even now, local health experts are continuing to tweak protocols, especially concerning the need to quickly identify and isolate patients who have perhaps been exposed, showing us special “negative pressure” treatment rooms near the hospital emergency room.
“A patient that may have an infection that we want to isolate, we can put that patient in the room,” explains Dr. Sellers. “When we close the door, it creates negative pressure, so no germs…It keeps them in the room, so other patient and staff are protected.”
Dallas County officials are reminding the community to have a plan for their families and businesses, just as they would during severe weather season, but also know that local leaders are preparing as well.
“Those of us who it’s our job to work on this, are working very hard,” says Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. “The public health community is on top of this, we are prepared for this. We are doing our job and you need not worry. Go about your daily life.”
Dr. Philip Huang, Director, Dallas County Health and Human Services also sharing those assurances, telling CBS 11 in a statement, “While there are currently no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Dallas County, we are taking the risk of an outbreak in the US very seriously and are preparing for any level of response that may be needed.”
Judge Jenkins says area first responders are undergoing additional training right now on how to respond to households where coronavirus exposure is expected “and all that’s before we have even one patient here in Dallas County.”
Dr. Sellers says his advice for those concerned about the coronavirus would be to first mitigate the most pressing danger, seasonal flu.
“Get a flu shot, wash your hands and stay home when you’re sick,” he said.