Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird today said the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) is working with community partners to address the possible spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). No cases have been reported in Nebraska or in the region at this time. She said the public will be kept informed through three main channels:
"My office is working with our local Health Department to make sure that everyone in our community has the accurate and up-to-date information they need to make informed decisions for their families," Mayor Gaylor Baird said. "As the lead agency in our community, the Health Department has comprehensive plans in place for these types of outbreaks. Health Department officials have been working proactively with the Lincoln Public Schools, the Chamber of Commerce, our health care community, our first responders and other agencies on plans to keep our residents safe and healthy."
"LLCHD's goal is to reduce the impact of COVID-19 in Lancaster County by detecting any cases quickly, minimizing transmission and developing guidance to prepare communities to respond," said Communicable Disease Supervisor, Tim Timmons.
Patricia Lopez, LLCHD Interim Health Director, said the Department has been monitoring the rapidly changing situation. She said the coronavirus is a very real public health threat, but local residents have no reason to panic. She said those who have traveled to China or been in close contact with someone who has should seek immediate medical care if they begin to feel sick with fever or cough or have difficulty breathing. They should also contact the doctor or emergency room ahead of the visit to tell them about their recent travel and symptoms.
Lopez said businesses and organizations can prepare by developing or reviewing their emergency operations plan, identifying essential business functions, determining which employees are able to work from home, planning for online rather than face-to-face meetings and considering flexible sick leave policies. She said families can prepare by planning for a room in their homes where an ill person could be kept separate from others. Individuals should have a two-week supply of essentials, such as food, water and medication.
While face masks are not recommended at this time, the LLCHD recommends the general public take the following steps to reduce the spread of any respiratory virus: