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Health Department announces new cases, new policies

By Shari Harris

The Texas County Health Department reported on their Facebook page July 2, 2020, that Texas County had three additional new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to eight for the county. Their Facebook page will be updated each Monday ongoing, and on Monday, July 6, the brief posting indicated one new case in the 65-75 age range, which is not linked to any other known cases in the county. This brings the total cumulative cases to nine, with five on home isolation, four off isolation and none hospitalized.
The Health Department advised citizens to consistently practice basic preventative measures. One recommendation is to use social distancing when possible, leaving a distance of six feet between you and others.
The next step is to avoid contact with people who are sick. “Many medical professionals believe the majority of transmissions are through respiratory droplets and that surfaces are probably a less likely (not without some potential) source of transmission when compared to face to face prolonged contact where someone coughs or sneezes in close proximity to others.” The department also points out that every case of COVID-19 is different, ranging from no symptoms to serious complications. It’s easier to know with whom to avoid contact when they have serious complications, but it becomes much more difficult if they have no symptoms.
This leads to their next recommendation, covering your coughs and sneezes. When you have warning of an impending cough or sneeze, this can be done with a handkerchief or tissue, or by covering your face with your arm near your elbow. If you have no warning or if your hands are full, this becomes inherently more difficult, and face masks become a good method of covering the cough or sneeze. The face mask is NOT to protect you, it is to protect those around you in case you have the virus but don’t have symptoms.
“It’s extremely important to stay home if you are feeling sick. If you think you may have COVID-19 isolate from others and call your healthcare provider before you go into the office,” says the department’s Facebook page.
The Health Department reminds us to wash our hands frequently, 20 seconds with soap and water or use hand sanitizer if you can’t wash. They recommend we clean commonly used surfaces frequently.
COVID -19 is here. Case reports for rural areas are increasing. One of the three most recent cases is believed to be from community spread. The health department says, “Be proactive and not reactive. Protect yourself and your family when out and about. And in order to help keep the spread of communicable diseases in the community to a minimum, everyone must do their part.”
COVID-19 has been confirmed to be widespread in the area and throughout the entire United States. Presume that everywhere there is interaction with other people; there is some inherent low risk community exposure. “The same recommendations apply to all places,” says the department.
The Health Department will not be issuing a statement on their Facebook page with each confirmed positive test. They will post a weekly update every Monday. Also, “unless a particular situation or large outbreak requires additional notifications,” the Health Department will not be issuing information about dates, times and locations a positive case has traveled in the county. This is due to the low risk exposure that is present at all places.
The Texas County Health Department reports it is collaborating with community medical partners on hosting a drive-thru community-testing clinic in July. When details are confirmed, they will release the date, times and registration information.
Information on COVID-19 is available from Missouri’s toll-free hotline number at 877-435-8411. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’ COVID-19 Dashboard is updated daily at 2:00 p.m. To access the dashboard and other information regarding COVID-19, the DHSS website is at https://health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/communicable/novel-coronavirus/.


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