TYLER, Texas (KETK) – With concerns circling the nation about the coronavirus outbreak, KETK and FOX51 presented a one-hour special program with in-depth information from local experts.

Guests included experts from health care, government, business and tourism, our school systems and community groups.

Over the past several weeks, President Trump and Gov. Abbott have held several news conferences discussing the impact America is taking and what the nation is doing to combat the virus.

“Impressive team, Vice President Pence is so perfect for this job and all the smartest people, most talented people form the public and private sector are coming together, it’s impressive,” said State Sen. Bryan Hughes.

“Governor Abbott’s been very engaged, he’s really in tune to the details, makes himself very available,” said State Rep. Cole Hefner.

Along with President Trump and Vice President Pence, the CDC has coined the term ‘social-distancing’ which recommends people stay at least six feet away from each other.

“I think people are starting to get the message,” said NET Health CEO, George Roberts. “There’s some more social-distancing to be done.”

Roberts goes on to explain the depth of the coronavirus, which is a respiratory disease and spreads through droplets. He also recommends that people wash their hands for 20 seconds, stay home when you’re sick, and avoid touching your face.

“Fortunately the majority of people who get sick are mildly sick,” said Dr. Scott Smith with CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances. “However, the persons who are getting more severely ill are about two to three times higher than influenza.”

When it comes to the federal government, Congress has been working on passing a national coronavirus bill to help with unemployment and provide free testing.

“Well some people are panicking and some people in Washington are taking full advantage to get more government control over whatever they’ve been trying to do for years,” said Rep. Louie Gohmert. “People should not panic, and that includes people in Washington.”

He goes on to explain that they’ve made some headway with the bill, but there are still some problems including assistance for small businesses. Gohmert also suggested that the public should keep taxes that are usually withheld from their checks rather than offering every American $1,000.

“Just let everybody keep all of the taxations that’s in their check at least for a couple of months and that would be an enormous amount of money,” said Gohmert. “People on welfare don’t have their checks threatened or withheld when they miss work because they’re not working, they’re still getting their checks.

With President Trump encouraging the public to avoid groups of 10 or more, East Texas businesses are doing their part of ‘social-distancing’ by changing business hours and closing stores. But that leaves several employees out of work that may or may not have benefits.

“You’ve got people that are living paycheck to paycheck,” said Tom Mullins, CEO of Tyler Economic Development Council. “They need some kind of interim support in order to make it through this health crisis.”

“Take care of your employees,” said Michelle Mills, President, and CEO of BBB of Central East Texas. “We would recommend that you provide PTO to your part-time workers as well so they don’t feel obligated to come to work if they’re feeling sick.”

To protect their congregation and members, several churches around East Texas have closed their doors and are offering services through live stream.

“With the modern technology that we have to provide online services, this is how churches everywhere are gonna be connecting virtually online through live streaming or internet platforms,” said Pastor David Dykes with Green Acres Baptist Church.

“There are other opportunities whether it be PayPal and a bunch of other commodities to be able to do so from a distance,” said Rev. Brian Lightner of St. James CME Church.

Rev. Lightner said they are not equipped to stream on their website, but have taken full advantage of technology and are currently showcasing their services through Facebook Live.

“We moved to virtual learning on Monday,” said Dr. J. Blair Blackburn, ETBU President. “We have technology embedded throughout our curriculum and so our faculty and students are accustomed to that.”

“We’re looking at really identifying at the best practices to serve our community needs,” said Dr. Juan Mejia, TJC President.

As the coronavirus outbreak has continued, the stock market has fluctuated day by day.

“The best thing to do is take that deep breath, don’t make an emotional decision, be rational, take a look at your investments, see how they’re being impacted and really take a long term view before you make any changes,” said Jay Oliver, an investment advisor with Rose Point Capital Advisors.

“Well what we’re seeing right now obviously is the economic ramification of this,” said Ray Perryman, an economist. “We’re going to see layoffs in industries, we’re seeing our supply chain interrupted, we’re seeing our travel interrupted, our shopping, any number of things, so for a few months we’re going to see pretty significant fall out from this.”

He goes on to mention that the economy was strong before the coronavirus and once we get through it, we will most likely see the economy come back fairly quickly because the fundamental structure is still in place.

“Well for us, our clients are the most vulnerable to the coronavirus so for the Alzheimer’s Alliance we made the decision to stop anything that really brings those vulnerable populations out into the community,” said Stephanie Taylor with Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County.

Despite taking precautions, the alliance is still providing services like counseling and case management over the phone.

“They can call 2-1-1 and if they have coronavirus, COVID-19 questions they can hit option six and that will connect them with one of our community resource specialists and we’ll answer all the questions we can and if we can’t answer the question, we do have a hotline we can send them to,” said Kathy Ferguson with United Way of Smith County.

When it comes to the public, many say they are worried about supplies and household items but urge people to take care of each other and check on your neighbors.

“I feel like being here in your conference room with the who’s who of East Texas leaders and they’re on top of it,” said Travis Wright, an East Texas resident. “These people are looking for solutions.”

“We need to take care of each other,” said Holly Huntwalker, another East Texas resident. “and one of the things that keeps distressing me is walking into the grocery stores and seeing people grabbing things that they don’t need.”

“I’m upset about not being able to buy toilet paper but it’s just scary,” said Sue Wingfield, another East Texas resident.