On Wednesday, a handful of local agencies and departments gathered to review plans and procedures for dealing with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus outbreak. The meeting was hosted by the Geary County Health Department and came on the heels of a telephone conference between local health departments, emergency management, and the Kansas Department of Health & Environment, which took place early this week.

Agencies involved in the local meeting included Geary County Health Department, Geary County Emergency Management, the Geary County Sheriff Department, Geary Community Hospital, and Konza Prairie Community Health.

The health department has taken an active response to the possibility of 2019 Novel Coronavirus in the community and is doing active surveillance with all local health care providers every week. It is unlikely that someone will show up displaying symptoms of this new version of Coronavirus at a local healthcare facility, according to information released by Geary County Emergency Management. However, if such a situation does materialize, there are plans in place to deal with the situation.

In the event someone with symptoms of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus shows up in Geary County, the health department will be notified and health department officials will contact the KDHE, at which point appropriate testing under KDHE guidelines will take place.

Agencies in attendance at the local meeting want to stress to members of the public that there is very little chance of the new virus having an impact on Geary County, but that there are measures people can take to protect themselves.

People are encouraged to receive a flu shot if they haven’t had one yet and to wash their hands as often as needed with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. People should avoid touching their mouths, eyes, or nose with unwashed hands and avoid close contact with people who are sick. For those who are sick? Stay home, Geary County Emergency Management said.

For more information, readers are welcome to check out the Geary County website at www.gearycounty.org and CDC website at www.cdc.gov. There will also be additional information available on the Geary County Health Department and Geary County Emergency Management Facebook pages as necessary.

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