Fort Bragg, Sandhills leaders ramp up novel coronavirus preparedness as NC sees first COVID-19 case

HARNETT COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Harnett County Public Health Department hosted dozens of leaders across the state Tuesday, including representatives from Fort Bragg and University of North Carolina. Officials came together to ramp up preparedness and brace for the threat of the novel coronavirus.

"This has been a great opportunity for us to test our capacity, to understand what our current capability and capacities are, identify where we have gaps in the system and make sure we are coordinating across agencies as we start to address coronavirus and other public health issues that may arise," said Cumberland County Public Health Director Dr. Jennifer Green.

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The breakout groups brainstormed ways to respond to the virus, testing and even how they'd use media outlets to communicate with the public.

Fort Bragg officials are also on high alert. They said the virus could pose a serious threat as soldiers return home from overseas deployments.

"Our area is similar to any other area. We monitor travel risks and any other health risk," said Fort Bragg Department of Public Health Director Col. Sheryl Bedno.
According to health officials, the coronavirus can spread quickly and has similar symptoms as the flu like coughing, sneezing, fever, runny nose, sore throat and shortness of breath. The leaders who gathered inside the Harnett County Public Health Department continue working to inform and protect the community, but urge the public to do its part.

RELATED: How does North Carolina prepare for possible coronavirus cases

"The message is the same: cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze," said Harnett County Public Health Director John L. Rouse, Jr. "Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands."

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Cumberland County health officials show proper hand washing technique to avoid disease.



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