COVID-19: UNM doctor explains danger of community spread | KOB 4

COVID-19: UNM doctor explains danger of community spread

Brittany Costello
Updated: March 19, 2020 01:10 AM
Created: March 18, 2020 10:25 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—Community spread is a case where health officials can’t pin point where that person got COVID-19 from. Health officials said community spread elevates the need for more precautions like social distancing.

On Wednesday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said for every positive case, that person comes into contact with around 34 people. So KOB 4 asked Dr. Tracie Collins, Dean of College of Population of Health, what that means in terms of transmission.


“I would look at it from the stand point of what’s the risk of transmission that we know of so far about COVID-19 as compared to say influenza or seasonal flu. For everyone one person infected with seasonal flu there were 1.3 infected, that they’ll infect others,” she said. “When you have COVID-19 its two to three people you’re going to infect.”

As we've heard time and time again, it’s not time to panic but to take steps that can help prevent the spread of this virus: washing your hands, sneezing into tissues, wiping down surfaces.

It's so important because Dr. Collins said this virus can stay in the air and on surfaces.

“What we know that was recently published really show that the respiratory, the droplets, the small particles that someone creates when they sneeze or cough can remain in the air and infect someone else for about 30 minutes,” said Dr. Collins. “Surfaces can be contaminated for up to three days is what we're learning now.”

Even though we're practicing social distancing, people are going to find themselves around other people, especially if you have to go grocery shopping, but even then you can take some safety steps.

“Obviously you have to go out and go grocery shopping, so be very careful when you’re grocery shopping. Make sure, if you can, you wipe down the cart you’re going to use before you use it,” said Collins “Once you get home you know take your groceries get them out of the boxes and bags move the bags and boxes outside and then wash your hands.”

As we've heard the governor say, Dr. Collins said now is the time every New Mexican needs to do their part.

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