An illustration created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of COVID-19. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Photo by Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM/CDC
City, county prepare for COVID-19
The City of San Marcos alongside Hays County, Texas State University, Congressman Lloyd Doggett’s office, local school districts, regional and state agencies met Wednesday to coordinate efforts to address COVID-19 — Coronavirus.
Both City of San Marcos Emergency Management Coordinator Rachel Ingle and Hays County Epidemiologist Eric Schneider said COVID-19 is not an immediate threat but preparations are underway to protect the local community.
“While COVID-19 is not an immediate threat to our community as no cases of the virus have been confirmed in Hays County at this time, we are partnering with county-wide organizations and state public health officials to monitor trends and prepare our organizations and residents,” Ingle said in a statement.
COVID-19 is a virus known for its crownlike spikes that protrude from its surface, which can cause a wide range of respiratory illnesses, including fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID-19 may take up to 2-14 days after exposure to appear. The disease originated in Wuhan, China in late 2019. According to the World Health Organization, over 100,000 cases of coronavirus have been diagnosed worldwide as of Friday.
A sixth case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the Houston area on Friday, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Hays County provided the following tips to prevent the spread of coronavirus:
- Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds several times a day, including between your fingers and underneath your nails. Handwashing is considered the best way to remove germs and dirt, and hand sanitizers should be used only when handwashing is not available. The hand sanitizers should be at least 60 percent alcohol to be effective.
- Avoid handshaking and high-fives
- Avoid touching your face – especially your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Stay home when you feel sick
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue then put the tissue in the trash, or use the crook of your elbow if a tissue isn’t available
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household disinfectant cleaning spray or wipe. Clean cell and desk phones, computer keyboards, door handles, and work surfaces often.
- Face masks are not considered an effective way to prevent someone from catching a virus unless you have close, frequent contact with a sick person; however, they are an option for sick people to use to keep from spreading the virus.
- Avoid travel to areas that have been designated high-risk areas because of multiple verified cases of Corona
"As of March 5, no cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Hays County, and only a few individuals who believe they may have been exposed to a confirmed case are in self-quarantine and are being monitored as a precaution to protect our community," Schneider said in a statement. "While we are anticipating cases to eventually show up in Hays County, the first line of defense against an outbreak or community spreading is to follow the good health practices whether you are healthy or feeling sick."
Those concerned that they may have been exposed to coronavirus are asked to contact their healthcare provider or the Hays County Local Health Department at 512-393-5525 to discuss your exposure risk. If you are experiencing symptoms you may be directed to your local hospital emergency room. The Hays County Local Health Department has a monitoring protocol in place which will be explained to you if your symptoms warrant it.