Mecklenberg Co. following CDC guidelines after possible coronavirus patient passed through Charlotte airport
Mecklenburg County officials answered questions Monday about possible community spread of coronavirus after a person returned from Italy through Charlotte Douglas Airport.
well as a couple of posters, and Cem frequently asked questions that we have developed and have posted on the website. Those posters can be downloaded. They could be used as flyers. If you are in a situation, whether it's at your church or you provide a service to the community of people coming into your office, that information could be provided widely, and we appreciate your help getting that out. In addition to that, we have an information line. That number is 980314 9400 That number is for individuals, healthcare providers, the media and the community at large. You will be routed to the appropriate person to answer your questions and to give you the information that you need at the county level. We're also working internally to revise our county travel recommendations and also to prepare our staff. We want to make sure that we're supporting our staff and staying healthy so that they can serve the community and protect their families. But we also want them to protect the individuals that they're coming in contact with on a daily basis as they go about the county business. So we're providing specific guidance for our staff that will be posted on our website as well. We want to remind people how to protect themselves. There are three layers of protection. One is individual protection. We have talked about this a lot. We want to make sure that if you cough, you cough into your sleeve. I'm still seeing a lot of people coughing into their hands. That's something that we've done since we were kids. Use your sleeve, Not your hand recommending that people aren't shaking hands these days. If you need Thio, acknowledge someone else. You can elbow bump or you could nod your head. You can do whatever you need to butt. Shaking hands is not recommended at this point. We want to make sure that people are staying healthy, getting plenty of rest, reducing stress, making sure that you're eating well, taking care of yourselves. All of the other things that we recommend for each individual that is part of their responsibility in protecting themselves and their community. The next level of protection is at the community level, and there's been a lot of conversation about social distancing and about whether or not people should be cancelling meetings or whether they should be canceling large events. At this point in time, we do not have any specific guidance from the CDC on canceling, canceling large events or resist restricting the size of meetings. Some businesses, some department, some organizations are doing that. They're doing that on their own as a precautionary measure. We support them in that. But we're not recommending that at this point, based on CDC guidance, that could change at any time, as could any of the guidance that we're providing the next. The last level of protection isn't is the environment. So making sure that your environment is clean I know that all of the Clorox wipes and the pure L are off the shelves. It's hard to get that type of equipment, but you can make a solution of, um 1 to 10 Clorox, the water that claims Justus well, so making sure that your environment states claim and that you're keeping your hands washed, we've got specific guidance that will put out there on washing hands to make sure, But there's lots of videos on YouTube to tell you how to wash your hands. We want to make sure that people do that. Soap and water is your best bet. I just want to one once more reassure our community that we are at risk. We are going to keep you informed and updated as things change and we know they're going to change. So I would urge calm and for people to do what they need to do to protect themselves, but not to panic. At this point, I'll be happy to take any questions you might have boy recently or decides to go home. We're showing No, not that I'm aware of. At this point. I want to remind people that were still in flu season, and it's also everything is blooming outside right now, so lots of people have hay fever. The things that we are concerned about with our employees is making sure number one that we don't have anyone at work that has a fever. Andi, if if someone is having difficulty managing their cough even though they may not be infectious at this point, we might be recommending that they go home. We have not had any employees that were aware of at this point that we've been concerned about Corona virus. Are you concerned that those who do not have paid sick leave will be going to work. That's always a concern, obviously, Um, and it's It's not something that is flexible in the near future, unfortunately, But again, I think people need to use their best judgment right now. Again, we do not have community spread in Mecklenburg County. So we have seen quite a few people who have been very ill from the flu this year. So, um, that's that's of concern as well. So as much as people can stay home if there will keep their Children home if they're ill, that's what we're recommending reports out of school thing is that sword Warren What they have to use their own. At this point, it depends on the situation we're handling. Every one of those situations individually depends on the situation. If the individuals sick and they're going home because they're ill, then they should. In the county. They would be using sick time for that. Um, so again, that's, uh, that depends on the business and how they work with their staff. On sickly reports, school restrooms are having a soap breaking passenger grows going in the extra expecting we're not doing extra inspecting at this point, but we are working with the school system. They are operating under specific guidance from CDC on how to clean on dhe to make sure that the environment for their Children is a safe and for their their employees is a safe as it can be. So we're continuing to have those conversations with them about how they clean what they clean with and how often they claim sting has been much. There has been some testing. Obviously, we have not had any positive test results of this point. ATTN. This point, though, we are being very careful about who we're testing to make sure that, um, typically, what happens if an individual comes in, has the symptoms. We will work with the hospital systems doctor's offices to do a respiratory screen first to see if there is another reason for the illness before we go through with the testing for Corona virus. And that's specifically because of the limitations with our testing at this point. To be perfectly honest, I don't have the whole numbers right now. It's at the state level, is at the state level. We also have several, uh, private entities that are testing. But again, the testing is limited. So we're again not recommending testing of individuals that are not symptomatic and also that they're screened well before we recommend testing places. Resulted cases tells our hotel someplace, even set up tents outside of E. R. So that patients don't want physically into the hospital there any conversations about where we would send for what we would have? So there there are, um, there are varying recommendations. There's that's a tiered approach. We are working with the hospital systems to make sure that they're notified before somebody comes into an emergency department. They have specialized room set up. They have a different entrance set up for individuals that we may be concerned about as a way of preventing exposing the entire emergency department. Urgent Care's air, doing some similar type of situations. The challenge will have because 80% of individuals with this infection have mild symptoms. They do not need to be in our hospitals. Our hospitals are gonna be plenty busy without bad, so individuals maybe requested to isolate or quarantine at home. And for those individuals who are not able to do that, we are looking into other options in our community to be able to provide them with the opportunity to isolate quarantine themselves as much stress. No worry. Right now you're still at the same time. We're going to get Kate. You know, this is a an active community with lots of people coming and going on a daily basis. I do not believe we will come out of this with no cases. That is, I don't think that's an option for this community. What we are saying is that we're doing our best to be as prepared as we possibly can when that happens, and to be able to manage what comes our way. What's your biggest? Our biggest. My biggest worry at this point in time is panic. I think that panic could make um, for real challenges in our community. Number one. You know, people overstocking so that individuals who need access to food are unable to find it. I'm not suggesting that people don't stock up, but let's let's be reasonable about that and the other issue that concerns me as people not following through on guidance because they're either not taking it seriously or they're panicking so that is probably my biggest concern at the moment. Recommendations? Does the county have any role in making sure that test are they now? So, uh, the testing Right now we're getting limited testing kits from the state. We do have the opportunity to work with private vendors if we need to. The hospital systems are looking at the possibility of testing. So I think that is going to improve every time is just at this point in time, we're a little limited with that. So the county will receive some test kits from the state, and we do have other supplies that we can use to test. We we don't. Actually, what we would do is collect the special specimens and send them to the state or to a private vendor to be tested. So, um, we are working on that. The issue of masts. I will reiterate people without symptoms who are not ill do not need to wear masks. In most cases, it probably makes things worse. Have you ever worn a mask? Do you keep your hands away from your face? When you're wearing a mask, you're probably touching your face more often. You're possibly exposing yourself more and the type of mass we're talking about don't really provide good protection. So people are walking around with a false sense of security. So we're not recommending mass at this point. The masks that we use in the health care setting to protect health care providers who are taking care of you people are a specific kind of mass that specifically fitted to their face to make sure that it provides the protection they need. And those are. Those are critical for our first responders as well as our healthcare providers to have availability. And so we're doing our best. Make sure that others aren't taken advantage of those masks when they really don't need them or you don't. And there's all these other events, man, many weekend. There's a lot of So is the kind making any recommendation we are. We are not making any recommendations at this point. There has been no guidance from the CDC on canceling any type of events. Outdoor events are probably gonna be easier than indoor events just because there's more air and you're not as exposed. I think each individual is gonna have to make their decision about whether to attend those kinds of events at this point again. We don't have community transmission here. I want to reiterate that again, because that is when we start having concern about these type of events. So right now, no recommendations were awaiting guidance from the CDC about what to do with that. I know in places where they have had, um, sustained community transmission, they have canceled events. But right now, that's not an issue for our community. They're with family members and are now. We don't have any county employees in that category at this point in time there, Rick, because we don't have community transmission because we're not seeing it being passed from person to person. Just in a general community setting. We, we are designated by the CDC, is low risk. We've only had two cases in North Carolina, and both of those cases had specific exposure that we were able to point to community transmission means you probably don't have any idea where you got it. Could have been a grocery store, um, could have been in any setting that you were in. It could've been work at church in any location, and that has not happened in our community yet, and it hasn't happened in North Carolina at this point. Unity transmission headlines today about a patient through Charlotte. What do you tell people who are saying? Should I not be flying? And could we now be concerned Community, Asian possible patient. Okay, so we are going with CDC guidance on that particular individual. What we understand is that that individual return from Italy, what's not symptomatic at the time that they disembarked at the airport, it was a day or two after they went back to South Carolina before they started showing symptoms. CDC is not recommending any follow up with anybody that was on that plane or in the airport. At this point time. They do not feel there's a risk there, so But, you know, that's gonna happen at some point. We know that's gonna happen at some point. We have individuals flying back from a number of different venues where there are cases every day into Charlotte, and we recognize that that's the situation. And that's why when I say, I don't think we're going to escape having cases in this community, because at some point that is gonna happen. All right, three. We are having specific conversations the county county staff are working with Those who provide service is for the homeless about what kind of response they need to be having at this point. So we're working with them on that and on their response plans. I don't know that there's specific effort at this point to put that out there other than with it within the shelters. But we are working in that direction made in our jails or huh? We're also having those conversations with the jail with the sheriff and his staff about any. At this point, there are no restrictions on visiting. We are having conversations about whether they start asking specific questions of individuals as they come to visit to determine whether someone maybe at risk and should not be allowed to visit. But that decision has not been made yet, so we are working with them as well. In addition to that, I mean, we are looking at where the vulnerable populations are. The jails are one just because they're in a confined space. Another is the homeless, and their third is those individuals who are in facilities. Whether that's a skilled nursing facility, um, adult care facility and assisted care facility. And we are gonna be meeting with them this week to have conversations about their planning's and their responses and how we can support them and keeping these individuals as safe as possible as well. No, besides keeping what are some specific ways the county's working Here's to me. Well, we're talking daily contact at least daily, so they have their own response plans. We are making sure that the connective ity between our response plans and our first responders response plans and the hospital systems response plans are all linked up so that we're communicating in the ways that we need to communicate. And we're trying to streamline that in a way that it's workable. So we want to make sure that everybody has the information they need. But we don't want everybody spending all day, every day on email. So way have worked through those issues and are are streamlining that communication to make sure that the right individuals have the information they needed all times about how many. It has not been extreme at this point. We've been averaging around 30 a day to the different levels of calls I anticipate as time goes on, that might ramp up. We're also I think, part of part of the thing that has helped with that is having the website that has a lot of information on it. And we've been directing people to that side as well. Um, we do know that 211 and 311 have been receiving some calls, too. So we were making sure they have the information. They need, um, to be able to provide answers for individuals just for it's just when it is so in around this particular preparedness issue, County public Health is the lead agency in the county. So we are on the incident, Commander. Moving forward. So this is the role that we're taking with coded 19. Thank you very much. Remember, calm. Come