Allegheny Co. health officials preparing for possible coronavirus outbreak in U.S.

ALLEGHENY COUNTY, Pa. — The Allegheny County Health Department discussed on Wednesday how they will be handling potential cases of coronavirus that could happen in the future.

There are more than 50 people in the country who have tested positive, and the CDC has warned Americans to brace and prepare for a crisis, NBC News reported Tuesday.

The coronavirus, dubbed COVID-19 by the World Health Organization, was discovered late last year in Wuhan, China.

Right now, local officials still have many questions about the virus and how dangerous it is.

“There’s a lot we don’t know. We still don’t have a good idea of what the case fatality rate is or what percentage of people die from it because we don’t have a really good handle on how many people are infected,” said Kristen Mertz, with the Allegheny County Health Department.

Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania’s secretary of health, said it appears that coronavirus is “somewhat more contagious” than the flu and can lead to more deaths than the flu.

While no one has tested positive for COVID-19 so far in Pennsylvania, Levine said preparations are already underway to deal with the virus.