Oklahoma Health Experts Prepare For Potential Spreading Of Coronavirus In US


Wednesday, February 26th 2020, 7:17 pm
By: Jonathan Cooper


As the Centers for Disease Control warns Americans to prepare for the coronavirus potentially spreading in the United States, local health leaders here in Tulsa are also taking notice.

Tulsa Health Department epidemiologist Jessica Rice said they track all diseases year round and have been in constant contact with the state getting updates since the beginning of the global outbreak.

"The guidance does change on a regular basis so it’s really just staying abreast of that information and then applying those guidelines on a local level," said Rice.

Rice said so far, three Oklahomans have been placed under investigation for exposure, but they all tested negative.

The renewed attention comes after the CDC announced, we could see a community spread in the United States.

Earlier this week, Italy reported a 45% single-day increase in infections.

Rice said despite these numbers, the general risk is still low for Tulsans right now.

"We acknowledge that is a definite public health concern and that we are definitely taking steps to be prepared at the Tulsa health department, but we want people to know that the general risk to the immediate population including Tulsa is very low at this time," said Rice.

We reached out to local school districts about it as well.

In a statement, Broken Arrow Public Schools said:

Broken Arrow Public Schools has a documented history of using cutting-edge cleaning and disinfection techniques to prevent illness and maximize student and staff health.

While it is important to note there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Oklahoma, the district will follow the guidance of local, county, state and federal health officials to be best prepared for any possible situation.

Tulsa Public Schools released the following statement as well: 

Student health and safety remains a priority for Tulsa Public Schools and we are carefully monitoring the full scope of the coronavirus. There is not a day that goes by at Tulsa Public Schools that we do not evaluate our practices and work to improve the ways that we keep our students and teachers safe, healthy, and secure. We are actively working with the Tulsa Department of Public Health and Tulsa Area Emergency Management Agency to stay updated on the status and spread of the coronavirus.

We are still taking this potential health issue seriously; we are continuing to monitor schools for outbreaks and regularly disinfecting schools during and after school hours. In the event of respiratory or gastrointestinal outbreaks, our school nurses and school leaders would follow the protocols we have in place to track illnesses, notify health department officials, disinfect schools, and keep staff and parents updated.

The outbreak coronavirus is changing rapidly, and community members can find more information and updates through the following sites:

CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html  

OSDH: https://www.ok.gov/health/Prevention_and_Preparedness/Acute_Disease_Service/Disease_Information/2019_Novel_Coronavirus/Oklahoma_Response_to_Novel_Coronavirus/index.html

 

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