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Missoula health officials plan for possible coronavirus cases

Posted: 10:20 AM, Jan 30, 2020
Updated: 2020-01-30 12:29:23-05
Missoula health officials planning for possible Coronavirus cases

More than 7,700 cases of the coronavirus have been reported since Wuhan, China first announced the diagnosis in some its citizens.

With cases expanding beyond the borders of China, the question is: “Could we be next?”

Infectious disease specialist Pam Whitney says the Missoula City-County Health Department is staying on top of this epidemic, and they have a plan of action if the coronavirus happens to reach Montana.

So far, five people in the US have been diagnosed with Coronavirus and each of those individuals were in Wuhan, China at the time of the initial outbreak.

Missoula health officials met with infectious control coordinators and members of the fire department earlier this week to discuss how they’ll move forward if the coronavirus escalates.

Whitney says the group is monitoring the epidemic and staying in touch with the state health department.

If a Montanan happens to return from Wuhan, China, Whitney says they plan to contact that person, monitor their temperature, and ask them to self-isolate.

She told MTN News that you’re actually much more likely to develop the flu than coronavirus.

“When you look at the numbers of people who are exposed, who may have symptoms -- and the number of people who have actually ended up in the hospital or have died, flu is affecting more people than this is affecting,” Whitney said.

The CDC website has more information about the Coronavirus.