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'I think it's going to go everywhere' | Galveston health officials preparing for coronavirus

Health experts on the island have already identified potential quarantine or isolation sites, in case they're needed.

GALVESTON, Texas — The end of February on Galveston Island meant sun and sand and little fear of coronavirus for visitors on Friday.

“I’m not that worried about it.. yet,” Canadian tourist Debbie Demara said.

She happens to be a retired emergency room nurse.

"It could get probably get worse but, you know, we need more information on it,” Demara said.

Medical professionals at UTMB told us they already have enough information to prepare in advance.

“I think it’s going to go everywhere,” said Dr. Susan McLellan, the director of UTMB’s Biocontainment Treatment Unit. The unit has dealt extensively with infectious diseases, including Ebola.

"We are, perhaps, like other institutions in the country who do this kind of thing, uniquely situated to advise and to help," said McLellan.  "And to be prepared to receive a patient should we need to do so.”

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Given its spread in the U.S. and overseas, health officials on the island jointly discussed coronavirus during a meeting on Thursday.

In fact, we're told potential quarantine or isolation sites have been identified if it comes to that.

"Isolation facilities and quarantine facilities could potentially be at home if somebody does not need hospital care or there’s not a risk to other people from them staying at home,” said McLellan.

McClellan and others believe it’s definitely not a time to panic.

And the best defense, at this point, is good hygiene and getting a flu shot.

"If you get both flu and coronavirus, you’re going to be doubly ill, okay," said McLellan. "So, do things you need to do to protect yourself. Wearing a mask is absolutely not one of them.”

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It's something visitors were willing to consider while enjoying the nice weather on the beach.

"You always have to take your precautions, no matter what,” said Demara.

As we’ve reported, health officials in Houston are preparing for potential coronavirus impacts as well.