Shelby County coronavirus case is ‘no risk’ to the general public, officials say

Shelby County coronavirus case is ‘no risk’ to the general public, officials say

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Sunday, Shelby County health officials confirmed the Mid-South’s first case of coronavirus. According to the Shelby County Health Department, an adult in Shelby County is the first confirmed case of COVID-19, the novel virus strain of Coronavirus.

But officials say there is currently no risk to the general public.

Baptist Memorial Hospital is treating Shelby County's first confirmed case of COVID-19, the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered Coronavirus strain.

“We don't believe that there is a need to panic,” said Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris.

Doctors from Baptist are not releasing the identity of the person diagnosed with COVID-19.

They say the person is doing well and currently in isolation.

“They are currently in a negative pressure air flow precaution. What that really means is that the air inside the room does not circulate back outside the room, and so it protects people in the hospital and around them,” said Dr. Steve Threlkheld, Baptist Memorial Health Care.

The Shelby County Health Department says the patient recently traveled out of state when they contracted the virus, but did not release where the patient went.

WATCH: Shelby County Health Department confirms first case of coronavirus

“That's very important because that means that in our opinion there is no risk to the public at large,” said Alisa Haushalter, Shelby County Health Department Director.

Although the level of risk at this time is low in the Mid-South, everyone is urged to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your face, and if you show symptoms similar to the flu, including a cough, quarantine yourself.

“They should not go to work, avoid church, avoid the opportunity of spreading that to other people,” said Haushalter.

If your symptoms appear to be of COVID-19 and rise to the level of hospitalization, call the doctor's office before you go.

“Let them know by phone so they can take steps to protect maybe people in their waiting room from unnecessary exposures. They can have you put on a mask and so forth if you do need evaluation,” said Haushalter.

Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris says they have adjusted their policies to make it easier for employees who believe they may have COVID-19 to take the recommended 14 days away from work.

“We want to encourage other large employers to review their policies to help employees who are sick have the ability to stay home,” said Harris.

The Health Department will soon communicate with every person who has been in close contact with this adult with COVID-19 and ask them to self-quarantine for two weeks. Officials plan to monitor them daily for potential symptoms.

“At this point, I tell people to stay informed, stay current and make sound decisions for them and their family,” said Haushalter.

Officials say they plan to keep the public up to date on everything surrounding this patient and COVID-19 in the Mid-South.

Another press conference is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon and in the foreseeable future, there will be a press conference every Wednesday to discuss the Coronavirus and COVID-19.

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