Special Report: ‘Preparing for Coronavirus’


The coronavirus has forced Italy to quarantine the entire country. Major cities in China are a ghost town and the coronavirus is spreading across the U.S. 11 cases are now reported in Pennsylvania, with other cases as close as Cleveland.

Are you prepared for the coronavirus?

In the studio tonight were health and medical experts from UPMC Hamot and the Erie County Department of Health.

From left to right is Dr. Greg Beard, a surgeon and UPMC’s Vice President for Medical Affairs.

Next is epidemiologist Emily Shears of UPMC Hamot, who is the Director of Infection Prevention.

On the far right is Charlotte Berringer, the Director of Community Health for Erie County.

Below are some questions they answered tonight:

Q: What are the signs and symptoms of the coronavirus? What should we look for?

Q: What should someone do if presented with the symptoms?

Q: The Erie VA Medical Center is screening visitors and some nursing homes are limiting visitors. Many people have compromised immune systems. Who do we need to stay away from?

Q: Should young people stay away from older people? Should healthy kids avoid their grandparents? Or is that just really taking it to unnecessary extremes?

Q: Are you aware of what local schools are doing or should do to keep students safe in terms of sanitizing facilities and holding down the potential spread of a virus?

Q: What about college students returning from distant cities, spring break destinations, etc. Does that travel put a college campus population more at risk?

Q: Living in dorms and apartments with many unrelated individuals, does that increase the risk of exposure?

Q: If a student is found with COVID-19, what is the quarantine procedure when it comes to schools?

Q: What can people do today if they think they’ll eventually have to work or do classwork from home?

Q: Are there apps people can use if they have to work from home?

Q: With the Ebola outbreak that happened a few years ago there was a greater mortality rate with that and more severe symptoms. Why are we making such a big deal about the coronavirus whose mortality rate is lower?

Q: There is a report from ABC7 from NYC saying that more than 70% of patients in China with coronavirus have recovered and have been discharged. Why are we worried about the virus on the scale that we are?

Q: Some have criticized the media for hyping hysteria. Do you see that being true? Are there issues in how the issues are being reported?

Q: We have seen the run on everything from hand sanitizer to bottled water to toilet paper. Why toilet paper? Is that the media’s fault too?

Q: What is the biggest unknown about COVID-19?

Q: What are the biggest myths about the coronavirus that are important to dispel?

Q: What are the most important facts about COVID-19 you want viewers to remember?

Q: As a hospital system, what is UPMC Hamot doing to prepare for the coronavirus? Are you prepared?

Q: As a county, are all systems in place to detect, treat and monitor this illness?

The goal for us tonight is to prepare all of you, not scare you, for the coronavirus.

You can find the answers to these questions and more on the videos posted above.

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Pennsylvania COVID-19 Map

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Health

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