POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Health officials are preparing for the potential spread of the coronavirus in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it’s not a matter of if, but when the coronavirus will spread across the country.
There are more than 81,000 confirmed cases worldwide and 57 cases in the United States. Southeastern Idaho Public Health is gearing up for how they will respond if the outbreak makes its way to our region.
"This is something we've been thinking about and are preparing for," public health preparedness manager, Devin Hughes said. "We are following closely so that we're able to be ready if anything does happen here."
The public health district is also working closely with local partners including Portneuf Medical Center and the ambulance districts.
"We have those relationships in place and we are making contacts with state health officials so that we’re all on the same page," epidemiologist Jeff Doerr said.
However, there are some things you can do today to help prepare. First, health officials are suggesting people stock up on cold and flu medication. Second, they're also advising people to have at least two-weeks of non-perishable food in their pantry. Lastly, the CDC and Prevention are also urging the public to stock up on hand soap to help prevent further spread of the disease.
Hand sanitizers have gotten a bad wrap. However, according to the CDC, sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol-based, are effective in killing nearly all flu viruses, including the coronavirus.