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CDC announces new plan to prevent further spread of coronavirus in U.S

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are taking new measure to contain the disease.

SAN ANTONIO — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced in a news conference Friday that it is preparing to further contain the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, in the United States. While the risk of infection remains low, officials are not ruling out the worst-case scenario.

Nancy Messonnier, director for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said they are working with multiple health partners across the nation to slow the introduction of coronavirus in the United States. In Friday’s phone conference, CDC leaders emphasized that the risk is low but U.S. citizens should be prepared for further spread of COVID-19.

“If you're watching the news, you may be hearing about schools shutting down and businesses closing in countries in Asia to reduce the potential spread of this virus. The day may come when we will need to implement such measures in the U.S. communities,” Messonnier said. 

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She said that, currently, officials are reviewing pandemic preparedness materials, including guidelines from the CDC’s morbidity and mortality weekly report, Community Mitigation Guidelines to Prevent Pandemic Influenza-United States. Messonnier said the 2017 report will act as a blueprint for future interventions. 

Next week, CDC plans to launch a new web page to detail what officials are doing to mitigate transmission in U.S. communities. Messonnier said they recognize that there’s a lot of uncertainty, but they are doing their best to provide the most accurate data.

With three confirmed cases and dozens of people quarantined in San Antonio, could fears about coronavirus keep tourists from the Alamo City? 

Richard Oliver, director of Partner and Community Relations for Visit San Antonio, said their team has been keeping track of the outbreak in the United States. 

"We reach out to hotels," Oliver said. "We reach out to all of our attraction partners and say, 'Here's the latest, here's the latest development, here's what's being done to protect visitors, tourist and residents.'"

Oliver said tourism is a top-three money-maker for the city, welcoming 37 million visitors a year and bringing in $15.2 billion in economic impact. 

"We haven't had anybody who is saying, 'Hey, we are not going to come to San Antonio because of this,'" Oliver said. "I think everybody sees this as a global problem, but not to a point that it's going to restrict what we do." 

Amy Shaw, executive director of Fiesta Commission San Antonio, told KENS 5 Friday night: 

“We don’t expect much of an impact on our attendance, we do look for CDC and the Federal Government to inform us on these matters, we don’t see it impacting Fiesta in San Antonio. About 75% of our attendance comes from locals and 20% comes from further away."