TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The coronavirus is a concern sweeping the nation, and as the number of cases increase, so does public concern.
The outbreak starting in China has spread to the U.S. with the number of cases climbing to 60. With some of the cases currently in Texas, many are left concerned if the virus could reach the piney woods.
Doctors in the area want to calm the public’s fear, after an East Texas woman is back home from China.
Ashley Jenkins revealed in a Facebook post, that when the virus struck, she was stuck in China after her passport and phone were stolen.
“I have quarantined myself for 17 days now, I am by myself 24/7, just trying to research, just trying to see what’s going on,” Jenkins says in her Facebook video.
Now back home, Jenkins posted that she is still self quarantined, and talking to the CDC two times a day. However, backlash keeps coming.
Comments on Facebook stating her return is a “dangerous situation”, and that Jenkins should “take this more seriously. Some scared “for us in East Texas.”
Doctor Richard Wallace, an infectious Disease Specialist, says people like Jenkins who are flying are unlikely to spread the virus.
“The Center for Disease Control, CDC, has been assigned to major airports to screen the people who are coming back primarily from at-risk areas in China. We have no cases that relate to transmission from someone who got off the airplane, and we didn’t know about it,” explained Wallace.
Experts at UT Health Science Center say the virus is not a cause for concern, but with more cases being found in the U.S., medical facilities and school districts are prepared if it finds it’s way to East Texas.
Both Tyler ISD and Hallsville ISD released statements on the steps the districts are taking to prevent the spread of illness, by enforcing great hygiene, like washing hands, and asking anyone who feels sick to stay home. All in an effort to keep students safe.
Doctors say there are bigger health risks to East Texans like the flu.
“We’re in the middle of influenza, by far is the greatest risk,” said Wallace.
However, the Trump administration expects more cases but is prepared to combat the virus if it spreads.
“The President’s early and decisive actions including travel restrictions have succeeded in buying us incredibly valuable time,” said Alex Azar, Secretary at U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Officials stated that travel restrictions and quarantines have led to small numbers. of cases.
“Our aggressive containment strategy here in the U.S. has been working and is responsible for the low levels of the cases that we have so far,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC. “However, we do expect more cases and this is a good time to prepare.”
For those who don’t know, the Coronavirus is a respiratory virus that is spread similar to the common cold or to influenza. It is spread through coughs and sneezes so the CDC urges that people cover their cough, stay home when they’re sick, and washes their hands.