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Monroe County encourages people to make emergency plans as coronavirus spreads



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A pedestrian wears a surgical mask as she walks by the VacaValley Hospital on Feb. 27 in Vacaville, California. The Monroe County Health Department released a statement Feb. 28 recommending citizens review their emergency plans to be prepared as the coronavirus continues to spread. Tribune News Service

As the coronavirus continues to spread internationally, the Monroe County Health Department recommends citizens review their emergency plans and suggest citizens focus on being prepared instead of being afraid.

The department released a statement Feb 28 with recommended safety tips for the coronavirus, as well as other viruses that are common this time of year February.

Penny Caudill, a health administrator at the Monroe County Health Department, said there are no confirmed cases in Indiana, but she would not be surprised if at some point the virus did reach the state.

“We need to do the things we can do to control our own situations,” Caudill said.

The department recommends planning how to get food and necessities without going outside for two weeks and stocking up enough food to stay inside on short notice.

According to the release, thinking about the possibility of working from home and planning for daycares to be closed are parts of the emergency plans people can consider.

Caudill said the department deals with outbreaks on a somewhat regular basis, but it is prepared to adapt its typical response because of the new virus and the difficulty of knowing what to expect.

The Monroe County Health Department is doing what it can to reduce the risk of an outbreak in the county by working with IU and others to review safety plans. They update people and inform them about precautions they can take.

Caudill said people should also focus on keeping surfaces that are frequently touched clean, such as cell phones.

According to the release, residents can take action to decrease the risk of all viruses by following the three C’s: covering your coughs or sneezes, cleaning your hands often and containing your sickness by staying home when you are ill. 

“The more prepared we are the calmer we can be,” Caudill said.

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