Health outlines plans for possible virus spread
HARRISBURG (AP) — A customized update to pandemic flu plans should be completed in the coming days for the COVID-19 virus, the Pennsylvania health secretary said Wednesday, although the state has yet to identify a case of infection.
Dr. Rachel Levine said at a Capitol news conference that monitoring and testing of travelers from China is continuing, although officials will not disclose how many people are involved.
“We don’t want in any way to stigmatize somebody,” Levine said.
The Health Department has plans to quickly notify the public if a case is confirmed within Pennsylvania, Levine said. The state has supplies of personal protective equipment, but she said those stockpiles could be drawn down if there is a significant spread of the virus.
The virus has so far reached more than three dozen countries and 81,000 people, with most of them occurring in China.
Pennsylvania state government has prepared by getting the Health Department’s emergency operations center ready a couple weeks ago and sharing information with health workers, businesses and schools, Levine said.
Travelers from China are being checked, some in person and some by phone, Levine said. She said an unspecified number of people are being monitored for symptoms, and laboratory testing is being done by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.