Jackson County Health Department Prepares For Coronavirus
While no cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in southern Illinois, local agencies are preparing to handle any that appear.
Bart Hagston of the Jackson County Health Department says it's important for people to be prepared but not panic. He encourages anyone who is concerned to make sure to seek information from credible sources, like the Centers for Disease Control and the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Hagston also says people should not stock up on items like masks, which are essential for healthcare workers but aren't necessary for the general public.
"There is a shortage on various supplies throughout the nation and beyond. And those face masks and respirators are included there," Hagston said. "So people shouldn't be going out and trying to hoard or try and purchase large quantities of these things. Leave them for healthcare and the ill."
With people facing possible self-isolation or quarantine, Hagston says social support networks will be key for people who may be stuck at home and in need of supplies like medicine or food. He says the department is developing plans to provide limited assistance to those in need.
"We would be looking for volunteers to join our Jackson County Medical Reserve Corps and help in that effort at that time, once we get these this plan in place and have some training available," he said.
Anyone interested in volunteering for the medical reserve corps can find out more at the department's website.
Testing for coronuvirus is handled by the state department of public health. Anyone concerned about contracting covid-19 should call their healthcare provider, who can help determine if testing is necessary.