Carilion, Roanoke city officials give coronavirus update

City, Carilion leaders take steps to prevent spread

ROANOKE, Va. – On Friday afternoon, the city of Roanoke updated the public on its coronavirus plans.

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Mayor Sherman Lea, along with Dr. Anthony Baffoe-Bonnie, Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control with Carilion Clinic, spoke during the news conference.

[Interactive map from Johns Hopkins shows how coronavirus is spreading in real-time]

If there’s an outbreak in Roanoke, city leaders and Carilion employees are preparing for the worst.

Carilion is taking steps to protect high-risk community members, like health care workers and patients at the hospital. Carilion health care professionals will wear goggles, face masks, gowns and gloves.

Carilion also wants to make sure visitors who may be sick don’t come into the hospital, so they’re going to do mandatory visitor health screenings and ask people who are sick to leave.

No one under 18 years old can visit the hospital and patients can only have one visitor at a time.

“We’re drawing a very careful balance there and trying to keep our patients safe at the end of the day, as well as our healthcare workers safe," said Dr. Anthony Baffoe-Bonnie, the medical director for Carilion Clinic’s Infection Prevention and Control.

Roanoke City is canceling all non-essential events for the next 30 days, like classes and events through the library or the Department of Parks and Recreation. Department of Social Services Outreach Programs have been suspended until April (DSS Assistance on Monday’s at the Homeless Assistance Team (HAT) and DSS Assistance on Wednesdays at the Main Library).

Besides lawyers, visitors aren’t allowed at the jail. Roanoke also won’t accept any new assembly permits for the next 30 days.

The city is preparing in case city employees get sick to make sure no services will be interrupted, like trash, Fire-EMS or police.

“People still, obviously, just like we do, we still have to conduct business. People still have lives that they have to live. You know, we just want, hope and encourage them to do that safely and smartly,” said Bob Cowell, Roanoke’s city manager. "One of the best ways to do that again, is if you’re sick, don’t go out. And if you are going out, maintain that social distance. Practice good hygiene and keep aware of the situation because if it changes, then their actions may need to change as well.”

Carilion’s Incident Management Team and Roanoke City leaders said they’re constantly evaluating the situation and are ready to adjust their response if there’s an outbreak.


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