County health officials, emergency personnel say panic over coronavirus unwarranted at this time

At a meeting on Thursday between Liberty County Emergency Management, Liberty-Dayton Regional Medical Center and others, the topic was the coronavirus.

Liberty County is not under a quarantine for Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) despite rumors that are running rampant on social media, say county and hospital officials.

“There are no community-spread cases [of coronavirus] in Texas, only travel-related cases so far,” said Krista Beasley-Adams, director of the Liberty County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. “There are no persons under investigation [for coronavirus] in Liberty County at this time.”

Coronavirus is not new, said Matt Thornton, director of the Liberty-Dayton Regional Medical Center. While this particular strain of coronavirus varies from past strains, it hasn’t proven to have a high mortality rate. In fact, flu poses a greater risk, particularly in children and elderly people and those with compromised immune systems.

“Fear and panic are the greater threat,” Thornton said. “When people panic, they buy more supplies, which creates shortages for hospitals and clinics. From a medical standpoint, health officials are more worried about overwhelming the medical system than they are the coronavirus.”

If hospitals are overwhelmed, they aren’t able to treat more critical and life-threatening emergencies that might arise, Thornton said.

Already people have reported experiencing outages of hand sanitizer at stores. Thornton said the old-fashioned method of disease prevention still works – soap and water.

The CDC recommends the following guidelines to prevent the spread of germs that cause flu, coronavirus and other diseases and illnesses:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly periodically, particularly after shaking hands with people, touching surfaces in common areas such as door knobs, door plates, light switches, etc., and before eating, handling or preparing food.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as germs spread this way.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough and sneeze, or sneeze or cough inside your shirt or elbow. After using a tissue, throw it in the trash and wash your hands.
  • If you suspect you have an illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after a fever subsides entirely.
  • Limit contact with others to avoid infecting others.

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