Clinical trial begins in US to test possible coronavirus treatment

Transmission electron microscope image of the novel coronavirus, isolated from a patient in the U.S. Virus particles are shown emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. The spikes on the outer edge of the virus particles give coronaviruses their name, crown-like.

HOLDREGE — Although there are no positive cases of coronavirus in the seven-county Two Rivers Public Health District yet, the district is asking the public to prepare for a surge of cases here.

“It is important for us to prepare now in order to protect the most vulnerable populations,” said Jeremy Eschliman, Two Rivers health director. That includes adjustments in daily activities to prevent the spread of the contagious disease.

The Two Rivers district covers Buffalo, Dawson, Franklin, Gosper, Harlan, Kearney and Phelps counties.

If positive cases are found, he said, that information will be posted on the Two Rivers website and social media.

Two Rivers believes that canceling large gatherings, or closing a school or day care, could help control the spread of the virus, but this is not yet a recommended measure. Two Rivers will follow state and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines as to when, or even if, this may be necessary.

At this time, there are no federal or state mandates for school, business or day care closures. The public is advised to refer to CDC guidance about large gatherings, school and child care recommendations, and interim guidance for businesses for assistance in making decisions.

For now, Eschliman recommends that the public do the following:

  • Make sure your emergency contact lists are current.
  • Continue to follow information and advice from Two Rivers Public Health Department.
  • Encourage staff and children to stay at home if sick.
  • Ensure that supplies are on hand to upgrade cleaning and disinfecting measures. Supply shortages are possible, even anticipated, if a large-scale outbreak occurs.
  • Parents should plan for what they would do with children if school were to be closed for a week or longer.
  • Day care centers should discuss with parents now about what to expect if the center must be closed for a week or longer. Families must begin planning now for backup childcare arrangements. Eschliman said a vaccine could be months away.

In recent weeks, Two Rivers has been carefully monitoring the activity of COVID-19 in collaboration with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and the CDC.

Two Rivers aims to prevent illness through effective monitoring of the disease and isolating those who have been potentially exposed to COVID-19 or who have potential symptoms.