Beckley gathers local medical professionals to discuss coronavirus prep

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – The coronavirus 2019, or COVID-19 as the CDC refers to it, has now claimed the lives of 9 people within the United States and around 3,000 globally.

Although there have been no reported cases in the state or in our area, Beckley Mayor Rob Rappold assembled a team of local doctors, nurses and health professionals. He opened city hall to the public for information on COVID-19 on Tuesday.

“To bring a cohesive unit together to demonstrate that the City of Beckley, Raleigh County, Southern West Virginia, we’re not operating in a vacuum. We know what’s going on internationally, and we can’t ignore that,” Rappold said.

The medical professionals were there to answer questions and talk about concerns.

According to Dr. Zonaira Gul, an infectious diseases specialist with Beckley ARH, the reason why COVID-19 is such a concern is that coronaviruses have a tendency to cause pandemics which could lead to severe diseases that originate out of the coronavirus family and lead to serious infection.

She did go on to say that most infections caused by coronaviruses are self-limiting.

If an outbreak would ever happen here, local medical professionals would work to contain the exposure and are urging those experiencing those flu-like symptoms be sure to give a heads up to their provider.

“If somebody suspects they may have an infection from COVID-19 or they may have been exposed to a case of COVID-19 please call your healthcare provider first,” Dr. Gul said. “Do not go to the office right away without warning.”

The purpose of this meeting was also to put the public at ease to show that there are plans in place at all the big local hospitals and clinics in case this area was to start seeing outbreaks.

Access Health has implemented an 11-step plan that includes having a main nurse dedicated to it, practicing good hand hygiene and having a clear line of communication between the patients and especially with the health department.

“We would get in contact with the health department and with the local hospitals to make sure to – we’ll try to limit exposure and even try to keep the patient from even coming to our clinic to get them to the hospital where they can be treated,” Access Health CEO Charles Hunt said.

For preventative measures, proper hand-washing is highly encouraged by doctors and other medical personnel.

If cases are found in the area, medical professionals have to report that info to the Raleigh County Health Department. Click here to access their website.

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Anna Saunders
Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.