Knox County declares countywide emergency amid increase of coronavirus cases in the U.S.


WTWO News app users: Click here for additional interview audio from Dr. Alan Stewart.

KNOX CO., Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — A county emergency has been declared for Knox County, though health officials say there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus at this time.

The Knox County public health officer says this is a preventative action as the number of cases in the country increase.

Listen: Dr. Stewart talks spread of virus and what’s next if contracted

The declaration allows public offices and employees in Knox County to exercise diligence in the discharge of duties during the emergency.

All citizens are required to comply with emergency measures with public officials. That includes executing emergency operation plans.

The health officer is authorized to forbid gatherings to minimize the spread of the virus.

Listen: Dr. Stewart on social gatherings and diseases that could be risky with the virus

Already schools and the public library have closed and the jail is essentially on lock down allowing no visitors. The health officer says he would be reluctant to forbid small gatherings of people, but he does advise the six feet apart guideline.

“Right now in Knox County we are fortunately in a preventative phase, once it is here in the county we will be in what is calling a mitigating phase, social distancing helps mitigate or slow the spread of the disease. Hopefully if we would be fortunate enough to prevent it from coming into the county, many people say we won’t be successful in that and I feel that they will statistically be right, but I would like to prevent that anyway,” Knox County Public Health Officer, Dr. Alan Stewart said.

Listen: Dr. Stewart on similar viruses the country has seen

Stewart says he doesn’t believe any of the proactive efforts will be too much when we look back on this.

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