Local health officials prepare for coronavirus threat

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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - So what can be done to prepare for the coronavirus?

Action 2 News checked with local health officials who say it's something that is being discussed right now.

While the CDC just issued a warning advising people in the US to prepare for the possibility of a coronavirus outbreak, the Appleton Health Department says it's a scenario they've been preparing for and discussions continue.

Appleton Health Officer Kurt Eggebrecht said, "We have a very small number of cases in America but nonetheless I think what we're seeing worldwide is rather than being caught on our heels let's lean forward and talk about those strategies, talk to our family members, what if, just have that what if and plan accordingly."

At many clinics including Thedacare, patients can expect questions regarding overseas travel as part of the screening process.

However it's the flu, that's the bigger problem locally.

Dr. David Brooks is a Thedacare Infectious Disease Specialist and Chairman of the Infection Control Department.

He added,"We still have influenza A going on pretty heavily in the community, much more people getting sick and dying from influenza both adults and kids so we need to stay vigilant with any respiratory infection and get tested for flu first and foremost."

Many communities including Appleton, have already participated in training that deals with the outbreak of a virus.

Eggebrecht said, "We've talked about it. This is fortunate that we've had some funding to do preparedness planning for many years. So it's really looking at plans and the training and the exercising that we've done for years and how do we now implement that."

Thedacare officials say they will have another meeting next week to go over their plan, and continue to make adjustments as needed.