Yakima Preparing For Possible Coronavirus Outbreak
So far no cases or suspected cases of the coronavirus have come up in Yakima. But that doesn't mean local health professionals aren't prepared. Nathan Johnson with the Yakima Health District says they've been working with hospitals, schools and big businesses for more than a month. Johnson says they have daily contact with the CDC and the state Health Department to develop guidelines for EMS workers and they're talking with area school districts to make sure plans are in place if students get sick.
Johnson says they're also talking with local EMS workers to make sure they have the equipment and the guidelines necessary to protect themselves and their equipment if they come in contact with someone with the coronavirus.
Since no cases have been found in Yakima and only one person diagnosed in Washington (in Snohomish County), Johnson says they're just making sure everyone is prepared in case the virus is ever discovered in the Yakima Valley.
Travel experts say they know a lot of people are concerned about spring and summer vacations. The experts say if you are concerned about an upcoming trip, don’t buy into all the hype and misinformation that is currently circulating on social media. Instead, they say, stay informed through reliable sources and when in doubt, contact your travel agent, cruise line or airline for the very latest.
So how can we all stay safe at this point?
Health officials say make it a regular habit to wash your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. The Centers for Disease Control also suggests staying at home if you begin to feel sick, even with mild symptoms, such as a headache or a slight runny nose, until you recover.
Johnson isn't recommending people wear masks in Yakima since no cases or suspected cases have been reported in Yakima.
He says if you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, contact a doctor. Call in advance and tell your provider of any recent travel or contact with travelers.
Johnson says they're monitoring the situation in Yakima and around the state on a daily basis.