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County officials working to dispense COVID-19 information

Jack County officials continue to work with regional and state officials on the best way to get information out to the public.

County Judge Keith Umphress said, after a conference call Friday afternoon, officials are now reaching out to businesses and asking if they are in any immediate danger and finding out what they need.

“We’re trying to help businesses and people be able to contact us,” Umphress said. “Once we get a confirmed case, we’ll be working with Dr. Robert Cooper, our county health authority, and Dr. Massey, with the Department of State Health Services, to determine what’s next.”

Cooper, in a phone interview Friday afternoon, said he was not going to confirm or deny that tests have been given to anyone, but said tests are available after a screening process.

Jack County has yet to identify a positive case of COVID-19. All appropriate and recommended guidelines and precautions from the Center of Disease Control and DSHS are in place at Faith Community Health System and throughout Jack County.

Not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19. Testing is done based on guidance from the CDC and at the discretion of state and local health authorities and/or individual clinicians, according to a press release from FCHS.

The release continues, all persons presenting to FCHS are screened in accordance with CDC and DSHS guidelines including evaluation and testing by providers at FCHS. All FCHS clinics are extending visits to patients using tele-health. Contact the local clinic to schedule a tele-health visit.

According to the release, EMS and first responders have specific guidelines, as well, that have been developed by the CDC and DSHS. Be patient when calling 911 as there will be pre-screenings. This effort is intended to provide additional safety to the community and the first responders.

The Jack County Emergency Management team is in constant communication with all authorities related to the situation and will continue to communicate as this develops.

Umphress said the county will be using Hyper Reach and pinging off cell towers to get information to residents as fast as possible.

“Hyper Reach will be our primary source of contacting people about this and not FaceBook,” Umphress said. “Emergency Management is working with Hyper Reach and it will be the county’s information source through all this pandemic.”

Hyper Reach was used last month during the pair of tornadoes in the county and it worked flawlessly in the eyes of Emergency Management Coordinator Frank Hefner. Hyper Reach will enable residents to be contacted through Reverse 911 or even be contacted through the National Weather Service.

Umphress said homeland security will enable people driving through the county of what is going on here. About 2,000 people in Jack County have signed up already. To sign up, visit