Local health officials discuss coronavirus risk

Local health officials discuss coronavirus risk

LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) -The Oklahoma State Department of Health held a press conference today to talk about the coronavirus.

Currently, there are 2 people in the state being investigated for the deadly virus.

However, local health officials here in Lawton say we are at a low risk for an outbreak.

The Coronavirus is rapidly spreading now with 132 deaths, and 6100 confirmed cases. There have been five cases confirmed in the US, but no deaths at this point.

The Oklahoma State Department of health is currently investigating two possible cases in the state, however, they have not said where.

“If there is a need to notify the general public about a potential risk in a public setting, then that would be a situation where we would put out more details in regards to public places a person might have frequented, the specific times of day and dates that they were there, and what symptoms to look out for,” said State Epidemiologist, Laurence Burnsed.

Comanche County Health Department officials say they are prepared for any virus outbreak.

“Our overall public health mission is to detect and investigate and control the situations if it arises,” said District Nurse Manager, Janene Atchley. “So we are always prepared for whatever that communicable disease may be, whether it’s measles, pertussis, or coronavirus.”

Atchley says the coronavirus symptoms are very similar to the flu. She says it is spread through droplets, so you would have to be in close contact with an infected person to contract it.

“Oklahoma is not a high risk area,” said Atchley. “But of course anyone that has a concern, we would evaluate that and investigate that. We would not ignore any symptoms.”

There is a certain criteria that officials are looking at when it comes to investigating cases, like recent travel to infected areas, and symptoms. Atchley says if there was a confirmed case at the health department, they would immediately relay that information to the state Epidemiologists.

“If they meet the criteria for us to go ahead and initiate the specimen collection and testing, then we’re not going to wait,” said Burnsed. “We’re going to start the preliminary part of the investigation which is interview the individual to gather an extensive history of exactly where they’ve been during the time of concern, which is from symptom onset to the current time.”

Atchley says that if you think you may have been infected, to call your health care provider immediately.

Copyright 2020 Texoma News Network. All rights reserved.