Jack County reports first COVID-19 case
Jack County has confirmed its first reported case of COVID-19 through its hyper-reach communication system at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 8.
"Today, a confirmed case of COVID-19 is now in Jack County. The confirmed case came from a test at the Faith Community Hospital," Jack County Judge Keith Umphress wrote in a press release. "This person is reported to be sheltering at home and isolating from others as is the standard protocol for the situation."
In reporting the case through the hyper-reach system, Jack County Emergency Management urged citizens to continue following social distancing guidelines.
"Keep doing what we're doing," Jack County Emergency Management Coordinator Frank Hefner said when asked about the case. "We will not disclose information as far as male or female, age, etc. All we know from the Department of State Health Services, is we have a positive case until their investigation is done."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported there has been a total of 395,011 COVID-19, or coronavirus disease 2019, cases in the United States resulting in 12,754 deaths. The Texas Department of State Health Services reported a total of 9,353 cases and 177 deaths in the state as of noon Monday, the numbers had not yet shown a confirmed case in Jack County.
"We are not allowed to provide names or address of confirmed cases including those who have been exposed," Umphress said when asked about the patient's travel history, "DSHS is the lead investigation agency for this medical emergency. Governor Abbott's office has been notified thru TDEM. Local agencies affected have been notified."
Faith Community Hospital System reported no cases of COVID-19 on April 5 in a press release.
"Although, in direct guidance with the DSHS, we will neither confirm nor deny that we have negative or positive tests performed at our facility," the press release reads. "Be assured that testing is available if someone presents with symptoms and fulfills the necessary screening and evaluation for testing."
The release also states FCH is working with Umphress, Cooper and Hefner as well as larger healthcare facilities to discuss future steps.
"We have several contingency plans being discussed with DSHS and these other facilities in the case of a surge of hospitalized patients occurs in our area," the April 5 press release reads. "Please be assured that our area has a small number of confirmed cases and the majority of these cases continue to be mild in nature."
Gov. Greg Abbott issued an Executive Order March 19 which enforced federal social distancing guidelines for COVID-19, including closing schools and instructing Texans to avoid eating or drinking at bars and restaurants. The protocols allow exceptions for essential activities and services based on the Department of Homeland Security’s guidelines on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce. Examples of these essential services include healthcare, grocery stores, banking and financial services, utilities, child care for essential service employees, and government services.
Abbott extended the order on March 31 to run through May 4. Texans are prohibited from visiting nursing home, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities, or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance. Additionally, schools will remain temporarily closed to in-person classroom attendance through the order.
The executive order does not prohibit people from accessing essential services or engaging in essential daily activities, such as going to the grocery store or gas station, providing or obtaining other essential services, (...) or engaging in physical activity like jogging or bicycling, so long as the necessary precautions are maintained to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and to minimize in-person contact with people who are not in the same household.
The Jack County Commissioners Court approved a Declaration of Local Readiness on March 23.
"This legal action is enabled by Texas Government Code Section 418 and opens the process for assistance from state and federal resources as may be needed along with allowing extraordinary measures to protect the public," Umphress wrote in his press release. "The declaration is a direct result of the COVID-19, coronavirus."
The declaration did not enact any further restrictions on county residents. However, the court did take steps to restrict access to the courthouse, annex, county barns and Sheriff's Office during the meeting.
The city of Jacksboro also declared a local disaster for public health emergency and order during their meeting on March 23. The declaration did not put any further restrictions to the citizens of Jacksboro.
According to the CDC, steps which residents can take to help prevent the spread of the virus including washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer, avoiding contact with their faces, avoiding contact with people who are sick, staying home when sick, covering a cough or sneeze with a tissue and disposing of the tissue in the trash and by cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.
"Let’s work together to stop the spread of COVID-19," Umphress wrote in his press release. "Our Jack County health authority, Dr. Robert Cooper, states that if people avoid social gatherings, this action will be very helpful in the effort to stop the virus. Finally, please pray for the people affected by this new disease."
This story will be updated when more information becomes available.