The Hays County Local Health Department has been notified of two additional confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total cases in Hays County to nine. All nine positive cases are adults.
One of the new positive cases and one who previously tested positive live in two separate households in Buda with people connected to Hays CISD’s Carpenter Hill Elementary School. It is not believed that the persons who tested positive were on the campus themselves prior to spring break. Hays CISD has notified parents and employees.
According to Hays County Local Health Department Epidemiologist Eric Schneider the risk of transmission is low for those on the campus, but he recommends that all staff and students monitor themselves for symptoms until March 27th, 2020. Those symptoms typically include fever, cough and congestion.
One of the new cases is a Buda resident while the other new case has yet to be interviewed and that person’s city of residence is unknown at this time.
The breakdown of cases by city as of 4 p.m. March 24 is:
Austin (some Hays County addresses are Austin) – 1
Buda – 2
Dripping Springs – 1
San Marcos – 2
City unknown (patient not interviewed yet) – 1
Because of HIPAA laws, additional information about patients is not allowed to be shared.
Hays County Epidemiologist Eric Schneider reminds citizens that most persons who contract the disease will have low to moderate fever, a cough, and congestion, typically treated with over the counter medications as there is no specialized treatment for COVID-19 like there is with Influenza. The majority of persons who contract this disease will not need to seek medical care. Residents with these symptoms should self-quarantine until they are fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medications for 72 hours.
“Residents with underlying health conditions or a weakened immune system and persons over 65 tend to be hardest hit by COVID-19 and should consult their health care provider if they are experiencing symptoms, as should persons with high fevers or shortness of breath.
Good hygiene practices are essential:
- Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds several times a day, including between your fingers and underneath your nails. Handwashing is considered the best way to remove germs and dirt, and hand sanitizers should be used only when handwashing is not available. The hand sanitizers should be at least 60 percent alcohol to be effective.
- Avoid handshaking and high-fives
- Avoid touching your face – especially your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Stay home when you feel sick
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue then put the tissue in the trash, or use the crook of your elbow if a tissue isn’t available
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household disinfectant cleaning spray or wipe. Clean cell and desk phones, computer keyboards, door handles, and work surfaces often.
- Face masks are not considered an effective way to prevent someone from catching a virus unless you have close, frequent contact with a sick person; however, they are an option for sick people to use to keep from spreading the virus.
- Avoid travel to areas that have been designated high-risk areas because of multiple verified cases of Corona
- Individuals are encouraged to avoid large gatherings. This includes, but is not limited to concerts, plays, sporting events, gymnasiums, dances, and restaurants. Recreation activities that can be practiced in private are encouraged. This virus spreads by person-to-person transmission just like the flu, so limiting human contact can help prevent COVID-19 from spreading.
Hays County Epidemiologist Eric Schneider reminded residents to rely on qualified information sources for additional information such as the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Centers for Disease Control which offers information in Spanish and Chinese as well as English. The County’s COVID-19 info is here, and as in any emergency situation www.HaysInformed.com, the countywide emergency notification blog, has a rolling list of important information regarding COVID-19. Many City websites also have information for their residents.