OKC-County Health officials say they’re prepared to respond to coronavirus

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The Oklahoma City-County Health Department (OCCHD) says they have plans in place should a case of coronavirus break out in the area.

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma City-County Health Department (OCCHD) says they have plans in place should a case of coronavirus break out in the area.

"I am not worried," Frank Barnes, Emergency Management Director for Oklahoma City, said.

Officials say they have emergency preparedness response teams in place. If someone does contract coronavirus, a team will work with them to keep the virus from spreading.

"If it ever does progress to the point where there is an endemic here being transmitted regularly, then that’s when you start having more of the social quarantines," Blaine Bolding, administrator for Emergency Preparedness and Response with OCCHD, said.

Officials also say they have plans on how to keep government operations working if there's a smaller workforce because of illness.

They also say this is no different than handling past outbreaks like H1N1, SARS and the Zika virus, and that Oklahoma is at lower risk geographically.

"We’re lower risk because we don’t have a direct International airport here, so the folks who come in that are travelers, they’ll go to ports and never leave – they’re quarantined there. So the only people that come through here are considered low to moderate risk," Bolding said.

Experts say people should take the same precautions as preventing other illnesses like washing their hands and staying home if they're sick. The risk of getting flu is much higher than getting coronavirus.

Experts also say it's not likely for the virus to spread on objects shipped from affected areas.

"With respiratory illnesses, it’s not a conducive environment for a virus to thrive, at least long enough to find a human host," Hieremila Haile, emergency preparedness epidemiologist at OCCHD, said.

Two people in the state are being tested for coronavirus. There are no confirmed cases in Oklahoma yet. The State Health Department says test results could take two or three days.

Click here for information about coronavirus, as well as an up-to-date U.S. map on confirmed cases of the virus.

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