Coronavirus (COVID-19)

As more and more cases of coronavirus are confirmed, local officials are working to communicate as much information to the community as possible.

The Guadalupe County Office of Emergency Management, the city of Seguin and Guadalupe Regional Medical Center are working together and with state and federal officials to get the most up-to-date information.

Currently, the Texas Department of State Health Services has identified 15 cases of coronavirus in Fort Bend, Harris and Collin counties, the state department’s website read.

As of Tuesday, no cases have been confirmed locally, Guadalupe County Assistant Emergency Management Coordinator Bryce Houlton said.

“Currently, we have no confirmed cases in Guadalupe County,” he said. “We’re working hand-in-hand with Department of State Health Services, making sure we stay up-to-date on everything, working with our first responders making sure they’re prepared. We’re just working to try and keep everyone informed, keep an eye on it.”

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness first identified in Wuhan, China, late last year, according to a news release from the Guadalupe Regional Medical Center.

“Patients with COVID-19 have mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of cough, fever, and shortness of breath,” the release said. “Some patients develop pneumonia and a small amount of these patients have fatal cases.”

Symptoms could appear any time between two to 14 days after exposure, the release from GRMC read.

“People are thought to be the most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest),” it read.

The people who are at higher risk of getting the illness are older adults and people who have serious chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, the CDC’s website read.

In the U.S., 647 cases have been confirmed, with 25 deaths reported.

According to the World Heath Organization website, there are 109,577 confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide with 3,809 deaths globally.

Residents who believe they may have the coronavirus may get tested by a physician with pre-approval by the local department of health or the state’s regional office, according to the release from GRMC.

“There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19,” the statement read. “People with COVID-19 may seek medical care to help relieve symptoms. Currently, there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19.”

Houlton, and city and hospital officials encourage residents to take standard precautions to prevent the spread of the disease.

“Practicing proper hygiene is vital to containing the spread of COVID-19 since the illness is predominantly spread 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,” GRMC’s release stated. “Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds. Cover coughs and sneezes with the crook of your arm. It is important to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Forgo shaking hands with people for a while, they will understand.”

If residents do get flu-like symptoms, officials encourage them to stay home. If they become short of breath, they should contact their regular medical provider for advice.

“Call ahead before visiting your doctor or other medical providers,” Houlton said. “If you have a medical appointment, call the healthcare provider and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.”

If those symptoms get worse, residents are advised to seek medical attention immediately.

“If you are feeling severely ill, and especially if you are having trouble breathing, do not delay seeking medical care,” the release said. “If you are unable to present to a local emergency room, call 911. Warn the 911 dispatcher you have risks for having the coronavirus (travel to China, Italy, South Korea, Iran or Japan in the last 14 days, or close contact with someone proven to have the virus).”

Felicia Frazar is the managing editor of the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail her at felicia.frazar@seguingazette.com .

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