Area health departments address increasing coronavirus risk

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DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — The threat of coronavirus spreading is something we’ve been talking about a lot. But now, health officials at the highest levels in the U.S. and in central Illinois are buckling down to fight it.

Today, President Trump announced a coronavirus task force. Meanwhile, health officials in central Illinois are doing what they can to be ready.

Champaign-Urbana Public Health District has entered what it calls “full pandemic preparedness mode.” They haven’t done that in more than a decade, since the H1N1 virus in 2009.

They’re making plans on what to do if the virus comes to central Illinois. Part of that is by holding meeting with hospitals and doctors and communicating with the public on prevention.

Nearly 3,000 people have now died from the coronavirus, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. Public health officials in Vermilion County Public Health officials say they’re doing what they can to make sure everyone has a plan in place.

“To employers: we’re talking to them. What would happen if 10 percent of your workforce is either sick themselves or is home taking care of someone who’s sick? What if it’s 20 percent… start to make those plans now,” said Vermilion County Public Health Administrator Doug Toole.

President trump is launching a task force dedicated to controlling the problem in the United States. “The number one priority from our standpoint is the health and safety of the american people,” said Trump.

While the risk to the American public is low, health leaders say the danger is there.

“Our containment strategy has been working. That being said, what everyone of our experts and leaders have been saying for more than a month now is true. The degree of risk has the potential to change quickly, and we can expect to see more cases in the united states,” said U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

A lot of people are wearing surgical masks as a precaution to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. However, the CDC does not recommend this for a way to stop yourself from getting it. It is best used for those who are sick and want to keep from spreading whatever they have.

There are more than 80,000 cases in the world. The majority of those 3,000 deaths are in mainland China. World health leaders are working on a vaccine for coronavirus, but that takes time. Right now they’re still researching it. They expect to have something to test in about two months. Even then, testing is a long process and can take six to seven months on top of that. They’re looking at about a year to a year and a half before it could actually be used.

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