Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX (March 5, 2020) – Hays County Epidemiologist Eric Schneider wants to make sure that Hays County residents understand the current exposure potential for Coronavirus and precautions they can take to help stay healthy.
Schneider noted that good health practices for Coronavirus are similar to that of Influenza (the two are different viruses), and some symptoms are similar. Symptoms of Coronavirus include fever, cough, and shortness of breath that typically show up within 2 to 14 days of contracting it. Flu symptoms often also include headache, chills, body ache, sore throat, fatigue, stuffy nose and/or sneezing that is not typically associated with 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
If you are concerned that you have been exposed to Coronavirus, contact your 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.
Coronaviruses are not new – some are responsible for common colds and some for more serious infections like SARS – but this particular strain of it is new which is why it is often referred to as Novel Coronavirus. The disease it causes is formally known as COVID-19, which stands for Coronavirus Disease and the year it was first known, 2019.
“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. “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.” Schneider also recommended that residents rely on qualified information sources for additional information, such as the Centers for Disease Control and the Texas Department of State Health Services.