Coronavirus Updates

Health officials in Kanawha County urge preparedness over panic

Health

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) Health leaders and first responders in Kanawha County are planning ahead for the worst case scenario when it comes to CovD-19, also known as the novel coronavirus.

“It is not time to panic,” said Dr. Sherri Young, DO, FAAFP the health officer and executive director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department. “We do not need to panic at this time we need to prepare.”

Young said there was an informal meeting Thursday among Charleston and Kanawha County leaders and first responders. There will be a formal meeting Monday.

“We are dusting off the pandemic flu scenarios and fine tuning it because this is behaving a little differently than the H1N1,” Young said.

Some topics that will be addressed include who is responsible for what pieces of the response if CovD19 continues to evolve. They’ll be planning for everything from who will monitor patients to distributing vaccines when they are eventually developed.

“We are thinking through every scenario including worst-case scenario,” Young said. “If we have to quarantine people, making sure we thought through how are they going to be fed them, how are they going to get their medications and getting them safely to the hospital or places where they may require some treatment.”

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito said she has been in touch with the director of the Centers for Disease Control as well as health leaders in West Virginia.

“Our state of preparedness at this point is good,” Capito said. “We have relatively few active cases. But every night new countries are being infected in larger and larger numbers. So it stands to reason that eventually we’ll have more cases and we need to be ready in our public health system to address questions of quarantine, diagnosis and treatment.”

The West Virginia Hospital Association said all hospitals are required by the state Office of Health Facility Licensure and Certification (OHFLAC) to have an Emergency Operations Plan to address all hazards that could impact the facility and its ability to provide care. Explaining that the state OHFLAC reviews the plan annually. The association said the plans include response to infectious disease and the process for communicating to the public about the hospital status. The WVHA added that most hospitals have extensive plans and training protocols for a High Impact Pathogen such as CovD19 due to past Pandemic Influenza and Ebola Disease planning.

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