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State, local officials on high alert as Coronavirus spreads

By Meg Dickens

As nationwide panic surrounds the Coronavirus (CoVID-19 ) state and county officials are taking the threat seriously.Tennessee government officials had the first Coronavirus Task Force Meeting on Monday, March 9, in the Tennessee State Capitol Executive Conference Room. The TDH State Public Health Laboratory now has the authorization to run COVID-19 tests seven days a week to help with identifying and treating the infected.

The Johnson County School System released an official statement on CoV on Friday, March 6. In this statement, officials assure the public that they are disinfecting schools and keeping a close eye on government health developments. Officials plan to rework their response based on the most up to date information.

“It is our goal to keep students, employees, and the community healthy and safe. We will continue to work with local, state, and federal health agencies to make necessary revisions in our Response Plan as new information becomes available.”

What many are unaware of is that this particular type of virus is commonplace. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause the common cold as well as more severe respiratory problems. Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning that the contagion can spread between humans and animals. This particular strain is a novel coronavirus (nCOV), which means it has not been  identified in humans previously.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the specific worrying agent in this epidemic is Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-COV). Certain groups are more likely to be infected. High-risk individuals include older adults and those with chronic medical issues such as diabetes. Most infected parties only have flu-like symptoms.

The CDC suggests using similar prevention methods to the flu. These include washing your hands, covering your mouth when coughing and sneezing, and making sure any meat and eggs consumed are cooked thoroughly. The Tennessee Department of Health avoiding touching your face, staying at home when ill, and staying away from the ill. Those with symptoms should wear masks to decrease the chance of spreading germs. The CDC does not recommend that healthy people wear masks to prevent contagion.

For more information on coronaviruses and COVid-19, visit the CDC website here , the WHO website here, or the Tennessee Department of Health here.