Minnesota Department of Health urges coronavirus preparedness

While there are no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Minnesota, preparations are already underway to prepare the state after a CDC report said Tuesday that it’s not a case of “if,” but of “when.”

The state health department continues to stress that the risk is low, but they want to make sure the coronavirus is on people’s radars and that they’re ready.

The virus isn’t showing signs of slowing its global trek and Minnesota officials say it’s only a matter of time before we see it here.

“We certainly don’t want people to panic, but we want them to think about if we did have a lot of disease transmission here, how that would affect you and what you can do today to prepare yourself,” said Kris Ehresmann, of the Minnesota Department of Health. “We’re also looking at what can we do as communities to be prepared. Businesses, schools, faith communities, that kind of thing.”  

MDH officials want people to make a plan now, including things like ensuring you have a few days’ worth of non-perishable food items in case you get sick and have to stay at home.

School districts are also planning for coronavirus. St. Paul Public Schools told FOX 9 the district’s wellness department sends out weekly coronavirus updates to its school nurses. At Minneapolis Public Schools, they have been monitoring the virus closely and meet regularly to develop plans.

Twin Cities area hospitals say their plans are in place, whether it’s treating a few patients, or a surge of them.

“We have the potential for everyone to get sick from this and we don’t have a good way to treat it,” Ehresmann said. “And that’s why we want to make sure people are staying home and minimizing and slowing down transmission as much as possible.”

As the MDH pointed out, none of the plans have to be dramatic, but businesses should be prepared for circumstances like if employees have to work from home or take long leaves of absences.

Additionally, they say parents should have a plan to feed kids if they cannot go to school and have lunches there.