Washington County officials say they are taking all the steps necessary to ensure the health and well-being of everyone in the county, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
A statement today (Monday) from Emergency Management Coordinator Bryan Ruemke said the county’s elected officials, public safety departments, and local health authority are monitoring the situation and receiving updates on a daily basis. Officials are receiving current information and updates on confirmed cases in Texas, the United States, and the world.
Ruemke said, as of 10 a.m. Monday morning, the state of Texas had 56 confirmed cases spread across 17 counties. He said there have been no deaths from the disease in Texas, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS). According to Ruemke, there are no confirmed cases in Washington County or in any of its surrounding counties.
Ruemke said the Washington County Office of Emergency Management is participating in daily conference calls with the TDSHS, and is in constant communication with emergency management coordinators in the region.
Ruemke said telecommunication officers at the county-wide dispatch center have implemented a 911 screening questionnaire to ensure that every call gets screened for COVID-19, to allow paramedics and first responders to don appropriate personal protective equipment when needed. He added that public safety is participating in regional calls with healthcare partners for surveillance.
According to Ruemke, the Washington County Maintenance Department has implemented extra cleaning precautions at the courthouse and annex after hours every day. He said the county is working through the healthcare supply shortages just as everyone else is.
Ruemke said the cancellation of many mass gathering events in the county is not a cause for panic, and will help prevent the potential spread of COVID-19. He said these decisions were made by the organizers of the events, and the county, to date, has not asked for the cancellation of any events or gatherings.
Ruemke does not recommend stockpiling food and supplies, saying if everyone acts responsibly, everyone will be able to get everything they need from their local grocery stores, just like they normally do.
County officials, the local health authority, healthcare partners, and public safety officials will meet Wednesday to discuss the ongoing situation.
Ruemke also provided recommendations from TDSHS on what to do to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Those recommendations can be seen below.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 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.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.