SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it expects coronavirus to spread across the U.S.and the group is preparing for a potential pandemic.

This comes as more and more countries are reporting cases overseas.

Health officials at Baystate tell us that they have had meetings to prepare for cases of coronavirus.

Now, as the virus spreads, they say they have supplies on hand and a treatment plan in place.

"It does not look like we’re going to see the end of this anytime soon," Megan Gallagher, an infectious disease physician with Baystate, tells us.

Federal health officials are preparing the country for more cases of the coronavirus to hit America and local hospitals are making sure their teams are prepared for a possible outbreak.

"There's new outbreaks cropping up in many other countries and so it’s really understanding now that we need to move forward and be prepared," explained Gallagher.

Megan tells Western Mass News that they have been having meetings since the outbreak began in China, but now, they are making additional plans.

"We’ve put out communications to our emergency departments, cautioning them to take travel histories and be on the alert for people coming in with compatible respiratory systems and fevers. We’ve been having meetings to discuss preparedness, making sure we have the supplies we need on hand," continued Gallagher.

She says they have airborne isolation rooms available for people to be quarantined in if they are found to potentially be at risk, but she says although cases of coronavirus are rapidly hitting other countries, right now in western mass, the risk is low.

"The vast majority of things that we’re dealing with at the moment deal relate to influenza. Although the coronavirus is scary, it makes the news. It’s important to remember that, statistically speaking, Americans are far more at risk of influenza," said Gallagher.

She says with heightened concerns about a potential coronavirus outbreak, the best thing you can do to protect you and your family is to...

"Practice really good hand hygiene, washing your hands, especially after coughing, sneezing, touching your face, before eating, after using the bathroom, because that’s really the most important thing you can do to help prevent the spread of disease. If you’re feeling sick, stay home, practicing social isolation to avoid spreading whatever you have, be it coronavirus or influenza, which is far more likely right now, is really important to try to prevent the spread of disease," added Gallagher.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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