MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – 20 people are in self-isolation for observation for Coronavirus in Shelby County, after traveling to higher risk areas overseas.
So far, there’s still no confirmed cases in the Memphis area or Mid-South.
Staff at the Shelby County Health Department will check periodically on those 20 people during their two week self-isolation to ensure there are no medical red flags.
It’s the latest sign of the international health crisis – and local caution – brought on by Coronavirus.
“This epidemic has evolved very, very quickly,” Shelby County Health Department Director Dr. Alisa Haushalter said. “When people traveled initially, it may not have been a concern, as they travel back, it may be more of a concern.”
That played out for 20 people in Shelby County who recently traveled to areas hit the hardest by Coronavirus, an illness spread person to person, which causes fever, cough, shortness of breath, and – at its worst – could lead to death.
“We wouldn’t even say they have possible exposure. We would just say there’s an abundance of precaution for people who traveled to certain regions and they’ve been asked to remain at home for a set period of time,” Dr. Haushalter said.
Dr. Haushalter said while none of the 20 people showed any Coronavirus symptoms, they’ll each spend two weeks in self-isolation, as recommended by the Centers For Disease Control.
“This is your public health system at work,” Dr. Haushalter said.
Those with the SCHD said the self-isolation for those people is out of precaution and shouldn’t cause panic.
“People should be more concerned about the flu. We lose thousands of people in the United States each year as a result of the flu,” Dr. Haushalter said. “I think we are so accustomed to it coming annually that we get complacent about that, but that’s actually more likely to cause harm, particularly in our area, than Coronavirus.”
As the death toll and confirmed cases of Coronavirus grows around the world, the negative health impact is also causing an economic impact. International travel is slowed, and international conferences are canceling out of caution.
Organizers of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona canceled out of caution over Coronavirus. The illness has spread to at least 25 nations, made 60,000 people sick, and claimed more than 1300 lives to date.
“I don’t think any of us really know or will know for several weeks, perhaps, if this was an overreaction or whether this was, you know, properly playing it safe,” said Bryan Darr, the Executive Vice-President of Smart Cities at Ookla.
The CDC recommends people avoid non-essential travel to China, where the most Coronavirus cases are reported.
Memphis-based FedEx is also supplying masks, sanitizer, and wipes to those workers traveling to areas of recent Coronavirus outbreaks.