Local healthcare and emergency response professionals were invited to talk about the novel coronavirus and the towns response plan Friday morning by local radio station KVOE, 1400 AM or 96.9 FM.
“It takes our community to act on this to limit the spread of the virus,” said Jarrod Fell, Director of Lyon County Emergency Management. “This isn’t something we can do alone. The awareness level is very important…as Gov. Kelly implements a state of emergency, money and resources will become available, but there will be a nationwide competition for these critical resources.”
COVID-19 is a novel virus that has not been circulated in the population before, said Jennifer Milburn, Director of Flint Hills Community Health Center Environmental Services.
“What this means is that there is no immunity built within the population…there are no pharmaceutical solutions,” Milburn said. “Community based interventions are all we have. Whether that be canceling large events or practicing social distancing.”
Milburn explained that the coronavirus differs from influenza, an endemic virus, in that there is no immunity built into the population, and with a 1% mortality rate, it is 10 times as lethal as seasonal influenza which has common pharmaceutical solutions.
Fell said there was no reason to panic given that the community has had plans in place since January, and recently overcame the boil water advisory.
“We saw this with the boil water advisory just a few weeks ago,” Fell said. “We get scared when we don’t understand something. Go stock up…but there is a fine balance. We want people to be prepared but there is no reason (for stores) to run out of hand sanitizer.”
Esther Knobloch, Newman Regional Health Infection Preventionist, explained that Newman Regionals policy is focused on limiting the spread of the infection.
“(Patients should) call ahead,” Knobloch said. “Prevention is the backbone of our response. Anytime you come in and you think you may be symptomatic you should call us ahead of time. Everyone is asked a series of three screening questions to keep people safe… if you have a cough, fever or shortness of breath, if you’ve traveled outside of Kansas within the last two weeks or if you have been notified by public health officials that you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive to COVID-19.”
During the on-air caller portion of the broadcast, Chuck Samples, KVOE radio host, deferred questions about the school district and its decision to not cancel classes to public administrators.
“I want people to be rest assured that we are talking with schools and are having a great collaboration between them,” Milburn said.
If you are not feeling well and are experiencing either coronavirus or flu symptoms, call (instead of visiting) the Student Wellness Center at 620-341-5222 or Newman Regional Health, 1201 W 12th Street, at 620-343-6800.