EUGENE, Ore. -- As the novel coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, Dr. Patrick Luedtke of Lane County Public Health says they are bracing for cases in Lane County and the state.
"It's reasonable for us to consider that given the commercial travel we in Oregon partipcate in, we're likely to see a case or two, or even a few more," Luedtke said.
Luedtke said they are currently monitoring seven people in the community who have either traveled to infected countries or have been in close contact with people who have the virus. Those people are being checked on every day for up to 14 days. He said if any develop symptoms, they will put them in isolation and get them treatment.
"That system has been pretty well tested already in just the couple months since the coronavirus has been around," Luedtke said.
Lane County Public Health keeps a stockpile of supplies on hand, including contamination suits, masks and more. But officials said in the event of an outbreak, they can get even more resources and are ready to set up an incident command to coordinate with other agencies. If an outbreak hits, they'll ask organizers who put on large events to delay them, including school, sporting events, and church.
"We are nowhere near having those conversations yet, but we will have them if we have an event of ongoing cases of transmissions in our community," Luedtke said.
Luedtke said while the coronavirus isn't as deadly as similar viruses like SARS and MERS, it's spreading fast. He said people who come in close contact with people already infected are most at risk.
"The biggest risk is people within six feet of (someone who) has the disease, and they need to be within that six-foot window for a significant period of time," Luedtke said.
He said people who believe they have coronavirus should call Lane County Public Health and their doctor before going to get checked, so they don't spread it to others. He's urging people to also wash their hands regularly and cover their mouths when they cough.