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Sacramento stores running out of basic supplies over coronavirus concerns

Shoppers flocked to stores like Costco and Sam's Club to stock up on basic essentials after more cases of the coronavirus have been reported in the area.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Shelves upon shelves in the South Sacramento Costco on Stockton Boulevard were empty on Monday morning. Everything from bleach to hand santizer to even sugar and flour were just completely sold out at the store that specializes in bulk.

There were signs hanging in the place where hundreds of water bottles once sat, saying this location is temporarily sold out. Why?

Well, as more cases of the coronavirus are reported across Northern California, more shoppers have started to hit the stores to stock up on basic supplies, leaving some stores temporarily out, or short stocked, of certain items.

Juana Lopez said her fear of the coronavirus sent her to several stores in Sacramento searching for cleaning supplies,  is what brought her to multiple stores searching for cleaning supplies and other essentials.

"It's kind of scary, they say it's like it starts like a cold, so I'm kind of scared about it," Lopez said.

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Word spread quickly over the weekend that stores were beginning to run out of supplies.

When Jennifer Davenport went to Costco on Monday for some basic essentials, she said she saw everybody walking out with those same items in their baskets.

"The thought of running out of something because everyone else was freaking out caused me to have a slight panic of just wanting to make sure that I'm safe and that my family's safe," Davenport said.

Costco did not immediately respond to ABC10 questions about how they plan to keep up with the demand for basic supplies.

Do people really need to panic, though? Solano County Health Officer Dr. Bela Matyas said not so much.

"I think people are experiencing anxiety, maybe some fear, and that's totally understandable," Matyas said. "We're dealing with a new disease, a lot of unknowns."

Matyas said it's a good idea to be prepared for anything, especiallt living in an area prone to natural disasters like wildfires, earthquakes and even mass blackouts like the ones PG&E customers experienced last fall.

"I think it is always wise to have extra batteries on hand, extra water on hand, make sure you have enough medicine to cover you in case you can't get to your doctor for awhile," Matyas said. "So, yes, that sort of preparation makes a lot of sense."

But when it comes to the coronavirus, Matyas said this might be a little premature.

"If you're asking if people should do that specifically for the coronavirus, I would say no, because there's nothing about this disease so far that would indicate the need for that," Matyas said. "But if anxiety about the coronavirus helps us be smarter about living in California overall, then let's take advantage of it."

Follow the conversation on Facebook with Lena Howland.

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