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Pima County preps for Coronavirus

International travel an issue, including Gem Show
2020-01-27 Coronavirus airports.JPG
2020-01-27 Coronavirus-Gem show.JPG
Posted at 7:48 PM, Jan 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-05 14:43:03-05

TUCSON, Ariz. - The Gem Show is bringing plenty of international travelers to Tucson---and that raises concerns about the coronavirus.

The Pima County Health Department is making sure medical professionals recognize people at risk of coronavirus. It's important to know if they traveled in any of the affected parts of China.

One challenge is the fact that Corona Virus symptoms can be a lot like the upper respiratory illnesses common this time of year.

Health Department Deputy Director Paula Mandel says, "You could have a runny nose you could have a cough you could be running a temperature. That's the piece that makes it so difficult. And, you know, when they go to their primary care provider they go to the hospital, they're going to be asking them all of those questions about their symptoms. One of the most important pieces again is there going to be asking them whether they've had any international travel."

Mandel says Tucson Fire Department has added coronavirus screening to questions EMTs and paramedics will ask sick persons---and travel questions are an important part of the screening.

But the Pima Health Department says with cold and flu season still in full swing you are more likely to pick up the flu or a cold in the Gem Show crowds than a case of the Coronavirus.