EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — Health officials say it’s only a matter of time before the coronavirus spreads further in the U.S. President Trump is now asking congress for 2.5 billion dollars in emergency funding to combat the virus. Wuhan, China was the epicenter of coronavirus, but new cases continue to be reported in Italy, South Korea and the Middle East.
Health officials have now confirmed nearly 85,600 cases around the world. China still has the most cases, at more than 77,000.more than 2,700 hundred people have died from the virus. There have now been 57 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. and while there are still now confirmed cases of the virus here in the Tri-State, health officials say we still need to be prepared.
“It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when,” said Anne Schuchat with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Today, health officials warned more cases of coronavirus in the U.S. are likely.
“People shouldn’t panic when they see new cases. They should know their government predicted we would have them,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.
Hospitals in the Tri-State say they are now looking for signs of the virus in their patients.
“We’ve been screening patients for quite a few weeks now,” said Dr. Phillip Adams with Deaconess Midtown Hospital.
Locally, stores are still sold out of surgical masks, but some doctors say masks aren’t what you need to fight the virus.
“The CDC still says for the normal, healthy patients, a mask really isn’t something you need to use at this time,” said Adams.
Coronavirus symptoms are similar to that of the common flu. Symptoms include fever, coughing and shortness of breath. If you live here in the Tri-State and develop these symptoms, Dr. Adams says you don’t need to panic, yet. It’s likely you have the flu and not the coronavirus.
“We still thing that very young and very old are probably the most susceptible to that. Obviously anybody with any kind of immune deficiency or comorbidities like heart disease, diabetes, those patients are obviously going to be at higher risk,” said Adams.
The Indiana State Department of Health issued this advice to international travelers.
“There’s still a lot of risk anytime you have any kind of travel but certainly we’re still only seeing these major restrictions where you’re getting direct flights from China,” said Adams.
We’ve repeatedly reached out to the Evansville Regional Airport who tell us they don’t yet have new protocols in place for the coronavirus. Eyewitness News reached out again today for comment but we have not yet heard back.
We’ve been following the story of Jim and Linda Levell from Vincennes, Indiana who were among the passengers quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Now they’re in Texas under a secondary quarantine. The couple tells our media partner Courier & Press they were briefly exposed to the virus, but are still not showing symptoms. If they don’t come down with the coronavirus, the Levell’s are expected to get the green light to head back to Indiana on March 2nd.
(This story was originally published on February 25, 2020)