Kerr County has had its second confirmed case of the COVID-19 virus that has created a pandemic worldwide, and local officials are continuing to urge residents to stay at home and practice preventative measures to mitigate further spread of the illness.
The person who tested positive for the novel coronavirus is a Kerr County resident, who is thought to have been infected while traveling outside the county, but within the state of Texas, said Kerr County Judge Rob Kelly. The patient is experiencing mild symptoms and is isolated at home, he added.
“The Texas Department of State Health Services is supporting Kerr County in identifying any close contacts of the patient, so they also can be isolated and monitored for symptoms, as well as quickly tested, if needed,” added William B. Thomas, the county’s emergency management coordinator.
Kerr County belongs to DSHS’ Region 8, which, so far, has recorded 267 active cases and 69 recoveries, Thomas said.
The county judge added that COVID-19 tests on two Kerr County Sheriff’s Office jailers have both come back negative.
“We have been fortunate in that this is only our second case so far,” Kelly said. “But we cannot stress to you enough how important it is to minimize your exposure by staying at home. Other positive cases are sure to be in our future, and we do not want our citizens to help this virus spread. Please, stay at home, practice good personal hygiene and hang in there. We will get through this.”
For good measure, the judge suggested three questions each citizen should ask himself/herself before leaving home: Is it necessary? Is it to provide an essential service? How can I minimize risk to myself and others?
Local residents who have COVID-19 concerns or questions may call the Emergency Operations Center at 830-258-1111. Peterson Health also has established a public hotline at 830-896-4299, Ext. 1.
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our local area, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend:
• Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Each washing should last 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Follow Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s order and stay at home, unless you have a job that is considered “essential.” Even then, minimize your time outside the home by going straight to work and straight home.
• If you are an “essential” worker, but feel symptoms, notify your employer and stay home.
• When you cough or sneeze, use a tissue, throw it away immediately and then wash your hands again.
• Disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces often.
“Minimizing exposure is especially important for people who are older or who have an underlying health condition like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer or any other condition which may suppress the immune system,” Thomas said.
People in those groups are considered to be at higher risk of experiencing a more severe reaction if they do get infected with COVID-19.
“The safest thing any of us can do during this outbreak will be to stay at home as much as possible and minimize close contact with other people,” Judge Kelly added.
To prepare, those considered to be at-risk should talk with their physician about getting additional prescription medications and they also should have enough household items and groceries on hand to stay at home, he added.
The public can find more information on the COVID-19 virus at dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus.
Additionally, those with further questions about the virus may call 2-1-1.