Myths, facts and what is next: Local professionals discuss COVID-19

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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - There are a lot of questions surrounding COVID-19, so Monday WYMT's Steve Hensley sat down with two local medical professionals with ARH to talk about the virus on Issues and Answers.

As of now, there have not been any cases in our area, but it is important to remember the criteria for testing are different now.

The original criteria revolved around travel, but as we're seeing cases spread from person to person those criteria are changing.

In the I&A segment, ARH officials mentioned that they have taken several precautions at their facility. Some of those include stopping travel between facilities, with few exceptions, and other social distancing methods.

Doctors do point out that the biggest concern is for elderly folks. People 60 and over with other medical conditions, like heart disease, are more at risk of the effects of the disease.

A strong immune system can overcome the virus, doctors add.

As for a vaccine? The CDC has isolated the virus and handed that to the National Institute of Health.

"As we speak, to the best of my knowledge from reading.. there has been some work done on developing a vaccine," said Dr. Fares Khater, an infectious disease specialist at ARH. "We know the virus has protein spikes, that spike out of it and this is how the immune response of the body is developed and they're trying to make a vaccine out of these protein spikes that are on the outer surface of the virus."

ARH officials say they are prepared for a COVID-19 case if their facility sees one.

"Even a patient we were testing and had a suspicion they might have COVID-19, we would isolate them in a negative pressure room, we would have our staff appropriately gowned in what's called personal protective equipment. So all of those measures are hardwired at ARH," said Dr. Maria Braman, ARH's Chief Medical Officer.

You can watch the full episode of Issues and Answers above.

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