DENVER (CBS4)– The deadly Coronavirus outbreak which started in Wuhan, China has made its way to the U.S. in Everett, Washington. More than 550 people have gotten sick, 17 have died in China, Thailand, Japan, and South Korea.

coronavirus

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The virus can cause coughing, fever, breathing difficulty and pneumonia.

Denver Health has been preparing and is trained and ready should there be a larger, more severe outbreak which hits Colorado.

coronavirus

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“As of now it has been estimated as the same severity as that of the flu,” said Dr. Gaby Frank, Medical Director of the Bio Containment Unit at Denver Health.

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Gaby Frank (credit: CBS)

They have been watching the outbreak of the Coronavirus since it was first reported on New Year’s Eve.

coronavirus

(credit: CBS)

“So far it doesn’t seem to have the severity that other Coronaviruses have had in the past, but like I said, it’s early on so we watching it,” said Frank.

This version of the virus may be tame, but viruses can quickly change and become more severe like SARS and MERS which are both strains of Coronavirus.

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CBS4’s Joel Hillan interviews Gaby Frank (credit: CBS)

“We continue to train people and be ready, if we have to activate the unit,” she said.

“We’ve had a couple of close calls, but I’m kind of glad it didn’t work out that way,” said Registered Nurse Amber Gore.

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Gore works at Denver Health in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit, but also volunteered to be a part of a specialized team to care for patients should the Bio Containment Unit need to be activated.

Every six weeks she goes through the extensive training and drills, so she’s ready.

coronavirus Amber Gore

Amber Gore (credit: CBS)

“I just wanted to educate myself so that way if anybody showed up in our emergency room or our hospital, I would be able to take care of them properly and not expose myself,” said Gore.

“If they decide to come to Denver Health we’re ready to take care of those patients, the whole unit and the hospital are ready to take care of them,” said Frank.

coronavirus

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Frank says the precautions for this strain of Coronavirus are the same as for any illness and the best way to protect yourself is to wash your hands.

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