Chris Ybarra, Editor-In-Chief
City Joins Global Fight Against Coronavirus
March 9, 2020
The coronavirus outbreak has ignited a frenzy of media coverage, as well as a worldwide panic over the virus. With 42 states in the US and the District of Columbia reported to have coronavirus cases, the national wave of precautionary measures and information has hit Lampasas.
Superintendent Chane Rascoe sent an email to LISD recipients yesterday informing them that the district officials are closely monitoring the coronavirus.
“Decisions regarding events both within the district and outside the district will be made on a case by case basis following guidance from our health officials,” Rascoe said in the email.
Rascoe also said in the email that schools are using hospital grade disinfectants rated as effective against this virus and additional custodial staff have been hired to properly clean all areas of the schools.
Officially named SARS-CoV-2 , the actual disease that the virus causes is named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Since its initial outbreak in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that 117 countries have reported laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19.
“Sometimes panic brings awareness and action,” district nurse Kimberly Kuklies said in a coronavirus-awareness email March 5. “We can say ‘wash your hands’ every day, but when there is a lot of media exposure, some people pay more attention.”
Per the WHO, there has been a total of 125,048 reported cases, and 4,613 deaths from the disease. In contrast, 68,898 patients have also been reported to have successfully recorvered from the diesease.
According to the CDC, the disease may cause these symptoms 2-14 days after exposure: fever, cough and shortness of breath. In severe cases, people have also suffered from pneumonia and kidney failure according to the WHO.
In response to the danger of the deadly disease, the WHO declared a public health emergency, prompting many facilities to take precautionary measures to limit the spread of the virus, including places of worship and gathering. St.Mary’s Catholic Church has suspended the distribution of sacramental wine and the use of holy water fonts, and has asked its attendees to avoid hand holding and shaking.
The CDC reports that there is no vaccine for the virus and urges people to take caution in community events or mass gatherings, or to avoid them all together. The CDC also recommends people practice everyday preventative behaviors, such as frequent hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes and avoiding touching the face.
“Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing,” high school nurse Rhonda Hamilton said. “Stay at home when you are sick. Maintain a healthy body with proper nutrition, hydration and sleep.”
Although the CDC and WHO recommend for communities to prepare for an outbreak, they also recommend that people avoid falling for the false stigma around the disease. According to the WHO the virus has an estimated 3.4% mortality rate, so the genuine danger of the disease is low for most people. Nonetheless, it is recommended that schools and workplaces prepare for an outbreak and to take proper preventative measures.
“The school district has an amazing custodial staff that works hard to make sure that the rooms are thoroughly cleaned,” Hamilton said “We can assist them by making sure that counter tops and desks are cleared so they are able to wipe them down and clean them effectively.”
It is also recommended for people to wipe down frequently held items such as phones and keys and to avoid contact with sick individuals.
“Lots of traveling will be done over spring break,” Kuklies said. “Keep yourself from becoming a susceptible host. We don’t have to minimize human contact, but we can maximize our infection control measures.”