With the coronavirus, or COVID-19, at the forefront of various news stations and on social media pages, some people are worried about the spread of the virus locally. At this point, Colorado, along with San Miguel and Montrose counties, is at low risk. Last week, rumors circulated that coronavirus might be in Montrose; however, on Feb. 26 officials from Montrose County issued a statement that those rumors were untrue.

Coronavirus is considered dangerous, as it’s spread by human-to-human contact, like the flu and can have serious complications. It’s a respiratory virus, and some patients end up with pneumonia; in some cases, it can be fatal.

“While we understand that new viruses like this can be worrisome, Montrose County has no cases (of the virus), and the risk of COVID-19 for Coloradans is currently low,” said Montrose County Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Lisa Gallegos in a press release last week. “One of the best methods of protection from this and other viruses is to wash your hands with soap and water, and cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze.” 

The Norwood School District is also preparing for, but not panicking over, the virus. School administration is having discussions and consulting with Teri Williams, the school’s registered nurse, regarding prevention and what could potentially be a pandemic.

Williams, who has worked in the health care field for decades, said she agreed the most important practices at this time are prevention. That includes rigorous handwashing, covering the nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing, and also staying home when sick.

Williams has been working on teaching handwashing techniques and proper hygiene with various grade levels this year at Norwood Public School.

Officials from Montrose County have also added it’s important to avoid people who have flu-like symptoms and they recommend getting a flu-shot for those who haven’t received one already.

Montrose County representatives, along with those in the State of Colorado, have said they are committed to protecting the health and safety of Coloradans and all county residents. For more information on the virus, experts are recommending the public visit the Center for Disease Control’s page at cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

Williams said she also recommends consulting the CDC’s latest updates and looking to the World Health Organization, as well as San Miguel County’s Department of Public Health. She said it’s crucial to remain focused on the facts.

“The most important thing is stay healthy,” Williams said. “And look at the facts.”

Sarah Franklin, Uncompahgre Medical Center chief administrative officer, said the Norwood clinic is also taking steps to prepare for the virus. Franklin said the clinic is ensuring their staff has enough safety masks for protection from the virus and is working on means to communicate with patients should they be quarantined.

Currently, there is no vaccine for the virus and no specific anti-viral treatment for it.