Statement from Rockwall County Judge David Sweet on the Coronavirus (COVID-19):
As you know, an outbreak of Novel Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has spread throughout China and to 31 other countries and territories, including the United States. As of February 28, at l p.m., 14 cases have been diagnosed in the United States, in addition to 39 cases among repatriated persons from high-risk settings, for a current total of 53 cases within the United States. Rockwall County has been actively monitoring this situation. While it should be taken seriously, the threat of contracting the COVID-19 today in Texas is low. However, the situation is rapidly changing and now requires your awareness and active participation to keep you, your loved ones, and community healthy.
You may be aware that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the first case of unknown origin with possible community spread in California. This is a significant development since the CDC cannot determine how this patient contracted the virus.
To ensure that Rockwall County continues to serve and is prepared for any emergency response, the County is taking a proactive approach by reviewing response plans, policies and procedures that may need to be activated or implemented. This should not alarm anyone. The County is merely adopting the stance to be better prepared for any incident large or small. The County has also taken action to implement extra sanitation procedures for County facilities. This is not a
time to panic. It’s time to prepare.
Key points include:
• Destinations with apparent community spread of COVID-19 include Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand.
• COVID-19 appears to be easily transmitted.
• Individual risk is dependent on exposure.
• A relatively low percentage of people who become infected display severe symptoms such as pneumonia.
• Most cases will present with symptoms similar to a cold, including fever, cough, shortness of breath.
• Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or 14 days after exposure.
• There is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19, and no medications approved to treat it. However, medical facilities can treat symptoms.
• At this time, diagnostic testing for COVID-19 can be only be conducted at CDC.
How can I prevent COVID-19?
• If you or your child feels sick, stay home.
• Begin practicing “social distancing” by reducing face-to-face contacts when possible, conducting business by phone or online, avoiding crowded public places, and reducing unnecessary travel.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
• Cover your cough with your inner arm.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipes labeled “EPA approved.”
o A homemade version can be made using one tablespoon of bleach to one quart of water.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 30 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
o If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
• Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the virus to others.
How do I prepare COVID-19?
• Ahead of any pandemic, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security says families should check their prescription drug supplies, store two weeks supply of water and food, and have non-prescription drugs and health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, cough and cold medicines, and fluids with electrolytes.
• Sign up to receive Rockwall County emergency notifications by texting “RCOEM” to 888777.
• Follow Rockwall County Office of Emergency Management on Facebook, https://www .facebook.com/rcemo
What do I do if I think I may have COVID-19?
If you are experiencing fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and you have traveled to an impacted country, been exposed to a sick traveler from an impacted country, or been exposed to a person with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, you should contact your primary care doctor or healthcare provider. Be sure to call ahead before going to your doctor’s office or the emergency room to prevent any potential spread.
For additional information, please visit the CDC webpage https://www.cdc.gov/
David Sweet, Rockwall County Judge