Guilford County hasn’t had a confirmed case of the coronavirus yet, but when the virus does arrive here, the Guilford County Health Department will be the lead agency in the fight against its spread.

This week Dr. Iulia Vann, the newly named interim health director, spoke to the Rhino Times about the Health Department’s and the county’s’ preparations.  

Vann said a large part of an effective response rests with the people.

“I think everyone should be vigilant and take the necessary precautions,” she said.

Vann also said her department is staying in close communication with the NC Department of Health and Human Services and with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

She added that she had been reaching out to find additional nurses and the department has been cross-training nurses to teach more of them how to deal with communicable diseases.

“We’ve also been working with the school system and helping them develop their plans,” Vann said.

She said that includes helping school officials with their guidance to students and parents. The Health Department, Vann said, has been composing potentially needed boilerplate press releases should various scenarios occur in Guilford County.

As for supplies, Vann said, the department does have a stock of needed protective masks and products needed for sterilizing surfaces and equipment, but it’s having a great deal of trouble getting reinforcement supplies.

The Health Department is altering its phone tree to include a new virus option and is preparing its clinics with new procedures meant to identify coronavirus patients.  

The department has also worked with Guilford County Information Technology Department and with Emergency Services to create a web-landing page dedicated to the coronavirus.

The Health Department will be tracking the disease in Guilford County. Though the department itself doesn’t perform any actual tests, private labs are required to report all coronavirus tests to the department. If a patient tests positive for coronavirus, the Health Department will be made aware and it will offer guidance to the public.