coronavirus

SoCal Schools Prepare for Potential Coronavirus Outbreak as Infections Mount

The disease has infected 81,000 people worldwide and has caused over 2,600 deaths internationally, with more cases in the U.S. expected.

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Schools across Southern California are working with public health officials to prepare for a possible outbreak of the coronavirus in Los Angeles County.

The CDC is urging schools and businesses to prepare now for a potential outbreak of the coronavirus disease, which was first detected in Wuhan, China and is likely to cause more cases in the U.S. in the upcoming weeks.

In the case of a coronavirus outbreak, the CDC is asking for childcare programs, K-12 schools, and colleges/universities to plan and prepare for a such outbreak.

Close to two dozen schools in Los Angeles County have posted notices about the coronavirus on their websites, updating parents as new information becomes available.

Amber Nuuvali, spokeswoman at San Marino Unified School District, said a handful of parents have called with concerns about the coronavirus at school.

She said that the district has been sending out emails every week informing the community about the latest coronavirus updates.

What to Know About the Coronavirus

  • Local schools are preparing for a potential outbreak of the virus that may prompt school closures.
  • The CDC expects more cases to break in the U.S. in the following days.
  • Coronavirus symptoms may include a runny nose, fever and headache.

Nuuvali said the San Marino District is working closely with public health officials to prepare for what a local outbreak of the coronavirus could mean for students.

"It is not widespread but we have a plan in place if needed," Nuuvali said. "The health and well being of our students and staff is our number one priority."

One parent is cautious, but not panicking.

"I am not hesitant right now because there haven't been many reported cases in Southern California yet," said Eric Borer, a parent of two students at Bonita High School in La Verne. "If that changes, as I expect it might, then I'll think about keeping them home from school."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning Americans to begin preparing for a likely outbreak of coronavirus in the United States, saying that both a "community spread," as well as disruption to work, school and life were likely in the event of a domestic outbreak.

Health and emergency-management officials told a Los Angeles City Council committee Wednesday there is no reason to panic locally about the coronavirus, but they said preventative measures are being taken.

There has only been one case of the coronavirus detected in Los Angeles County. That person has since been treated and cleared of the virus, but it stayed with the patient for 21 days, health officials said.

Orange County declared a local health emergency Wednesday. San Francisco did so on Tuesday, and San Diego County declared an emergency earlier this month.

Dr. Prabhu Gounder, medical director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health's respiratory diseases unit, which is leading the county's response to the outbreak, said during the City Council's Public Safety Committee meeting that the current risk to L.A. County residents for getting COVID-19 is very low.

"The best things people can do to protect themselves from any respiratory virus, including COVID-19, are the simple, everyday preventative measures such as washing hands, covering your cough and avoiding going out when sick," he said. "In addition, influenza activity is still very high, and we want to encourage everyone to get the flu vaccine, if they haven't done so already."

City News Service contributed to this report.

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