PICKENS COUNTY, S.C. (FOX Carolina) – As COVID-19, or the coronavirus, continues to spread, officials in the Upstate want to make sure residents remain safe. Newly reported cases in North Carolina and Georgia has created a new urgency seeing that South Carolina is in between both states.

Emergency management officials are shifting plans into place to be better prepared if the deadly virus was to show in the Palmetto State. Pickens County leaders are taking another look at training guidelines and developing new procedures like having dispatchers act as a first line of defense by asking certain questions to find out if a person has been in contact with someone who has the coronavirus or may have been exposed.

Also, officials are assembling kits for hazmat to respond in appropriate dispatch situations.

Airports across the world have been hot-beds, allowing the virus to spread unknowingly to thousands of people.

FOX Carolina spoke deputy director for Pickens County emergency management Pierce Womack, who says this is a measure to make sure first responders are equipped to deal with COVID-19.

"Our staff has brushed up on what we do on a normal day-to-day basis, our normal protocols for dealing with flu-like symptoms or if we had a radiological emergency and something happened like that at the nuclear plant, we're going to use the same types of recommendation for the coronavirus; such as the N95 mask and the Tyvek suit or the gown, and things like that," he said.

Copyright 2020 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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