Local emergency officials, along with area agencies and organizations potentially impacted by the developing situation with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, will participate in a state-run webinar today.

Paducah is one of three Purchase area sites selected by the Kentucky Department for Public Health – the other two being Fulton and Benton – for the webinar, according to Jerome Mansfield, executive director, Paducah-McCracken County Office of Emergency Management.

The meeting is not open to the public.

"We've invited local agencies, in what we call a stakeholder meeting, agencies that have some responsibility in the (community) response or large organizations that could be affected, such as the school systems," Mansfield said.

The webinar will include a video link with the DPH, and feature comments by its commissioner, Dr. Steven J. Stack, Mansfield said.

Following the webinar, Lindsey Cunningham, an epidemiologist with the Purchase Area District Health Department, will be available to answer questions.

The situation regarding COVID-19 "is the largest infectious disease-related problem that we've had," Mansfield said. "The problem is, we don't know how big the problem is, who's already infected and who will be.

"And, we don't have a vaccine, which makes it really hazardous to the older (age) group."

While the situation is changing rapidly, Mansfield is confident the area has the resources to appropriate action.

"We have an excellent response community that works together in the city and county," he said.

"We have two hospitals with infectious disease specialists, we have Mercy Ambulance, which is trained in screening for infectious diseases, and all of our fire department rescue personnel. I think we're ready to respond."

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