[Updated] The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called on the public Tuesday to prepare for a possible outbreak in the U.S. of the coronavirus that’s infected more than 80,000 people and killed at least 2,700 overseas in less than two months.
That preparation could include closing schools and more people working from home.
“Our Health Department is in constant communications with PUSD and other private institutions emphasizing the importance of personal hygiene, the latest Coronavirus statistics and suggested outreach to parents and guardians,” said Pasadena Public Information Officer Lisa Derderian.
In Northern California, San Francisco Tuesday declared a “state of emergency” over the coronavirus. Mayor London Breed said the declaration would help the city speed up emergency planning.
“The global picture is changing rapidly, and we need to step-up preparedness,” Breed said in a statement.
So far 2,764 people have died and 80,997 are suffering from the disease which originated in China. In January Chinese officials quarantined an entire city-Wuhan. During the quarantine, trains and public transit came to a halt, and air travel was canceled. Residents were urged to stay at home, and to wear masks if they must go out.
The quarantine area expanded to include a space of about 35 million people. The virus has spread to South Korea, Japan, Italy and Iran.
Locally all patients entering Huntington Hospital are being screened for signs and symptoms of communicable diseases. The hospital is implementing infection prevention and control practices to protect patients, visitors and staff, a spokesperson said.
Just two cases were contracted through person-to-person contact in the U.S., the CDC said.
A Pasadena Unified School District official said the PUSD continues to work closely with public health authorities such as the Pasadena Public Health Department and the L.A. County Department of Public Health to monitor the latest developments about the novel Coronavirus, provide accurate information to our communities, and keep our community safe and healthy.
“We will follow pandemic protocols under the guidance of local and federal Public Health authorities to keep our community safe and healthy, and ensure that student learning continues,” said Hilda Ramirez, district spokesperson.
On Tuesday Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases said communities should make preparation for the arrival of the virus.
“We are asking the American public to work with us to prepare for the expectation that this could be bad,” she said. “Schools should consider dividing students into smaller groups or close and use “internet-based teleschooling.”
Messonnier also said mass gatherings may need to be canceled and hospitals may need to also change services, according to the CDC.