ERATH COUNTY (March 22, 2020) –– It was only a matter of time until the pandemic reached us, but now the inevitable is here. Coronavirus has made it to Erath County.
According to the Stephenville City officials and Erath County Emergency Management Coordinator Susan Driskill, Erath County got its first confirmed case of COVID-19 over the weekend when a man who lives on Walking Horse Drive in Stephenville got a positive test result back.
The man, who works for the Texas A&M Research Center in Stephenville, was tested last week and was notified Sunday. He then notified his colleagues and others with whom he had been in contact recently. Many of those notified then took to Facebook, letting their friends and families know they had been exposed and were quarantining.
While not much more about Erath County’s first patient is known, due to HIPAA regulations, we do know that he had a fever but was not hospitalized.
The CDC reports illnesses have ranged from mild to severe cases and many deaths from the disease. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure and include a fever, cough and shortness of breath. The CDC also said if you develop ‘emergency warning signs’ for COVID-19, you should seek immediate medical assistance. Those warning signs include but are not limited to trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse and/or bluish lips or face.
There are currently two locations in Stephenville to be tested. They are Stephenville Medical and Surgical Clinic and SurePoint Medical Clinic.
Know How it Spreads
- There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19.
- The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
- The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
- These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Take steps to protect yourself
Clean your hands often
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
Take steps to protect others
Stay home if you’re sick
- Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Learn what to do if you are sick.
Cover coughs and sneezes
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
- Throw used tissues in the trash.
- Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Wear a facemask if you are sick
- If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room.
- If you are NOT sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.
Clean and disinfect
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
- If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.