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Travelers at COU taking precautions as coronavirus outbreak continues


Several travelers at the Columbia Regional Airport are taking precautions as officials continue to warn about the spread of COVID-19, commonly known as coronavirus.

Lisa Cox with Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services told ABC 17 on Sunday that about 100 people have been monitored for COVID-19 in the state. At this point, no one has tested positive.

COU flies into and out of Denver, Chicago and Dallas. DFW International airport sent ABC17 the following statement, stating they are screening passengers coming from certain areas for symptoms.

DFW Airport is one of 11 U.S. airports identified by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to screen passengers for symptoms of the coronavirus. All direct DFW flights to and from China have been suspended until April 23, 2020. A team from Customs and Border Protection (CBP), DHS, and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will screen U.S. citizens and immediate family returning to the U.S. from specific regions and countries. Through this process, we have worked closely with federal, state and local public health partners. Our Public Safety team is trained and prepared to provide support. The safety of our customers, employees and partners is our top priority.

JJ Cawelti, Spokesperson for DFW Airport.

ABC17 reached out to the Chicago, Denver and Columbia airports for comment, but did not receive responses.

Dulce Ybarra was traveling back home to Texas, and said seeing people already taking precautions makes her nervous.

"As I was walking in I did see somebody with a surgical mask," Ybarra said. "I was thinking, maybe in the future, that is probably going to be the norm, where everybody just walks in and get handed a mask"

She said she has been taking steps to stay safe from the disease, but had trouble finding some supplies.

"I do have antibacterial wipies, we were thinking about getting surgical masks, but they are sold out," Ybarra said.

She mentioned she is also considering changing future travel plans to Las Vegas. She also may rethink having her daughter travel home to Texas from Columbia for spring break.

"I'm just afraid it's going to get worse, so right now we didn't use the surgical mask, we're thinking maybe she'll need them later on."

Another traveler, Jeff French, said he isn't too worried about the disease yet, but he is more aware of his surroundings while traveling.

"I pay more attention and wash my hands, I'm a little more cognizant I think when people touch something or me touching my face, a little more cognizant of that, or watch if someone is sneezing or coughing and try to back off.

Spokesman for St. Louis Lambert International Airport Jeff Lea said they are not doing anything preventative or in advance right now.

He said any changes for any airport would come through either health agencies of the FAA.

"The airport is not a major international gateway and there has been no guidance to change any of our procedures or any signage or any warnings at this time," Lea said.

Columbia / Columbia Video / Health / Health / Top Stories / Top Stories / Video

Connor Hirsch

Connor Hirsch reports for the weekday night shows, as well as Sunday nights.


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