HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) – Amid Coronavirus concerns, Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger held a press conference Thursday afternoon and said so far in the county there have been no cases.
“I get calls constantly of people saying I hear such and such hospital, that’s not the case. But, as I say I want to be 100 percent honest with the public to say that we suspect that in the future that won’t be the case,” Mayor Coppinger said.
One person in the county tested negative for COVID-19.
Officials are monitoring two other people.
“We are monitoring two people now who have traveled to Italy and have come back. So, their monitoring should be up this week. In fact, we are watching them for symptoms, and they’ve remained symptom free,” Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department Epidemiology Supervisor Beth Fulbright said.
Officials encourage people to see a doctor if they’re ill and especially if they’re feeling shortness of breathe.
People can get swabbed and tested for Coronavirus in Hamilton County.
“Most doctor’s offices and such are, have the facility to do that. More and more are developing protocols for collecting the specimen and then that is sent to a lab,” Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department Health Officer Dr. Paul Hendricks said.
The health department and area hospitals have been meeting in preparation.
Emergency management officials have met with businesses.
Hamilton County Schools have joined several other districts in cancelling school.
Officials are also recommending the school board allow an earlier spring break.
“Though we know that from some of the CDC and department of health communications that students, children under 19 have not been at the greatest risk for the most severe symptoms, they can be carriers,” Hamilton County Schools Chief of Staff Nakia Edwards said.
The Chattanooga Airport issued a response to the virus on its website.
“The World Health Organization has said there is very little risk of contracting a communicable disease aboard an aircraft due to high-efficiency air filtration systems. However, out of an abundance of caution, Chattanooga Airport is taking additional precautions to ensure a sanitary and healthy environment throughout our passenger terminals and shared spaces,” Chattanooga Airport President & CEO Terry Hart said.
Officials remind folks to take their own precautions by doing things like washing your hands.
The health department does have a hotline you can call if you have questions about COVID-19, 423-209-8383.