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UK Healthcare bracing for Coronavirus should it hit Kentucky

Posted at 3:52 PM, Feb 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-27 18:40:07-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18)  — Coronavirus, or COVID-19, has barely penetrated U.S borders, yet there’s widespread panic from coast to coast about contracting the virus, which seems to have originated in Wuhan, China.

“It has to do with the unknowns,” said Dr. Derek Forster of the fears people have about this new virus, which has affected more than 80,000 people overseas, while claiming the lives of nearly 3,000 people. “We see what’s occurring in China; the disruptions to daily life, businesses and schools closing, empty streets. That is frightening to people when they see that,” Forster continued.

Forster is the Infections Prevention and Control expert at UK Healthcare, an agency which is already bracing for the worst, in the event Coronavirus reaches the Commonwealth.

“Whether it’s the flu, or Coronavirus we continuously plan and train to deal with those situations,” said Dr. Mark Newman, the Executive Vice President of Health Affairs for UK Healthcare.

Contracting the flu is so much more common, and sadly it kills more people in the United States on an annual basis, than we’re likely to see die on American soil from Coronavirus. Still, that fact seems to be lost on many.

“We have a vaccination for influenza. We don’t have that for COVID-19,” said Forster. “Certainly it’s the fear that propagates a lot of that,” he continued.

No vaccine in place at the current time, but what they do have at UK Healthcare is a plan in place, should a patient in Kentucky become infected with the virus. Their plan could potentially impact hundreds of peoples’ lives, even for just one positive test.

“Persons determined to be at high, or moderate risk after investigations would be evaluated and monitored for that 14-day period,” Forster said.

No one mentioned what exactly that 14-day evaluation might entail, which could be what’s sparking the real fear behind a virus, which still isn’t showing the worst of itself in the U.S. thus far.

The United States has 60 confirmed cases, as of this writing, with no fatalities.