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Coronavirus contingency plans in place in Central Texas counties

Posted at 7:02 PM, Mar 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-02 20:02:14-05

As coronavirus concerns grow throughout the country, the CDC is warning people of "community spread."

The CDC says community spread happens when infections start to appear without a known source of exposure. Health officials 25 News spoke with say not to panic, and that they're prepared to handle any kind of community spread infection, not just from travel.

"Well it's smart to be concerned, but it's even smarter to be prepared," said McLennan Public Health Director Brenda Gray.

Gray says she wants people to know that the district is monitoring CDC updates by the minute.

"We went from weekly meetings to daily meetings to ensure that our team and our structure is ready to move as soon as we need to move," said Gray.

The public health district says they have a big team, and crews are working with schools, EMS, fire, and more to ensure response plans are established ahead of time.

"We are on it. You have a health department that is working very diligently on trying to limit the spread," said Vaidehi Shah, McLennan County senior epidemiologist.

But what if there is a confirmed case of coronavirus in Central Texas?

Both Brazos County and McLennan County have contingency plans in place, which could cancel larger public gatherings, like sporting events or marathons, in order to prevent the virus from spreading

"You know we're not canceling any events as of right now. However, of course, anything can change," said Waco City Councilman Hector Sabido.

Tuesday, the City of Waco is hosting a public meeting where they plan to inform people how to stay proactive and safe from the coronavirus.

"That's the message that we want to send is there's nothing alarming going on yet, and I promise you, if for some reason something changes, we will notify the public," said Sabido.

Right now, the risk of contracting coronavirus in Texas is still very low.

Health officials also want to remind people not to buy face masks unless they're already sick so they don't infect others.

Coronavirus concerns have created a shortage of face masks, which is affecting healthcare workers who need it most.