As coronavirus continues to spread, CATS workers want better protection

CHARLOTTE — Concerns about the coronavirus are growing as the virus has killed more than 1,000 around the world.

There are more than 42,000 cases of coronavirus in the world, including 12 in the U.S.

Mecklenburg County is at low risk for the coronavirus, but Charlotte Area Transit System workers are pushing for more protection from the deadly virus, such as supplies of hand gel and masks.

"They should certainly have whatever they need to feel comfortable and safe in their job," said Dr. Rachel Graham, an epidemiologist at the School of Medicine in UNC-Chapel Hill.

The workers’ request said it’s imperative that transit management take swift action and become proactive in mitigating any potential employee exposure to the coronavirus.

Ian Thompson said he was in Wuhan, China where the spread of coronavirus started. He told Channel 9 Monday over Skype he has spent the last two weeks in quarantine in California.

“I couldn’t get out of the city at all,” he said about being in Wuhan. “You couldn’t travel anywhere. They stopped all airports, all buses, all taxis, trams -- everything was stopped.”

Thompson is due to be released from quarantine Tuesday.

Graham said it’s a remote possiblity that there will be a threat to the U.S. and that the flu is far deadlier that this new coronavirus.

“Using basic precautions that you would use in any influenza season is probably going to be sufficient,” Graham said. “Ant-bacterial hand gel is a good idea for anyone in contact with a lot of the public.”

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