Greenville Monitors, Prepares for Possible Coronavirus Outbreak
Mar 05, 2020 01:59PM
By David Dykes
The City of Greenville said it is preparing for the possibility of the Coronavirus in the Upstate.
A spokesperson said city leaders are seeking guidance from the CDC and DHEC and are prepared to follow any health and safety protocols that could be mandated by federal or state officials.
Administrators from police, fire and EMS have been briefed by infectious disease experts and are taking precautions to protect first responders, the spokesperson said.
"The Coronavirus is highly contagious. As a proactive measure the City has ordered hundreds of specialized masks and gowns for first responders," city officials said in a statement. "The protective gear is expected to arrive next week. It is vital to keep employees who respond to emergencies healthy so they can continue to help citizens. As a precaution, EMS will begin asking more detailed questions of callers who complain of Coronavirus symptoms so responders can protect themselves and advise hospitals before transport."
City health officials are encouraging all employees to increase hand washing, cover sneezes and coughs, and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces like keyboards, phones, door handles and countertops.
The city also is purchasing additional disinfectant and hand sanitizer for its departments. Custodial staff at city owned and operated facilities are thoroughly cleaning high traffic, frequently touched areas, city officials said.
Additionally, the city is exploring options for “work from home” scenarios and the possibility of providing services remotely if necessary. Employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are asked to stay home until they are free of fever and other symptoms for at least 24 hours without the use medication. Employees also are asked not to bring sick children to work.
City officials said they are in contact with partner agencies like Bon Secours Wellness Arena and the Greenville Convention Center to monitor possible cancellations of postponements of events that are expected bring in large numbers of out of town visitors.
“Right now the closest reported cases of Coronavirus are in the Atlanta area, but because of the highly contagious nature of the illness and the fact that patients can be infected, but not exhibit symptoms, we must monitor continuously and plan accordingly,” said City Manager John McDonough. “I strongly encourage employees who are sick to stay home to avoid the spread of germs.“