'Try not to stress:' Health officials warn against excessive stockpiling amid coronavirus spread

MENOMONEE FALLS -- In stores across the nation, items are disappearing off the shelves faster than employees can re-stock them.

Kathi Blatz

"The lines, minimum 45 minutes to check out, and that was through self-checkout. That's a 20-item or less line," said shopper Kathi Blatz. "The good news is they have a lot of toilet paper."

At Woodman's in Menomonee Falls, you might mistake carts for bumper cars as shoppers were trying to snag popular items. Packages of toilet paper and cases of water were limited to two per customer.

"We just got toilet paper, paper towels, a bunch of cereal, bunch of frozen stuff, canned stuff, too," shopper Anthony Gonzalez said.

A two-week supply of food is what health officials are urging people to prepare -- but they aren't encouraging unnecessary stockpiling.

"This advice is not intended to encourage the hoarding of supplies, but to keep you from having to go to a public place in the event you become ill and need to isolate at home for two weeks," said Andrea Palm, secretary-designee for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Ann Christiansen

"If you already have your supply at home, please don't buy more," said Ann Christiansen with the North Shore Health Department.

In the meantime, shoppers tell FOX6 News that they are trying to remain calm and are cautiously optimistic.

"I try not to stress because stress weakens your immune system," Blatz said. "I'm just keeping a positive mind and using common sense."

Health officials also want to remind shoppers that first responders, hospitals and other organizations are in need of some of the supplies people are stockpiling -- and ask customers to think of them, too. That goes for items like hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and masks.