Corona Virus update for March 24, 2020
Today, Dr. Matt Young, Local Health Authority, made the following statements:
“The number of positive cases in Bowie and Cass County has remained at 1 each for a few days now. This is NOT because there are only two cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in our area. However, while there ARE tests being performed, there is overall a lack of testing capabilities and a delay in results in the greater Texarkana region.
We know that the original case in Bowie County was travel-related, but the case in Cass County came from personal contact with Bowie County’s case. This likely means there are more cases in our area, but tests are extremely limited, and not every patient with symptoms can be tested.
We’d also like to remind everyone that because Texarkana is the medical and retail hub for a much larger region, our hospitals will likely treat patients from several counties and states. We’ve received direction from state and federal health authorities that the patients should be counted in their county or state of origin, but even if the cases did not originate in our region, we are aware of the cases and have assisted in their investigation.
Of the three known local cases that have required hospitalization, two have required ventilator support “put on the vent” during their hospitalization. The demographics reveal the patients are all under sixty years of age and had varying mild if any pre-existing health conditions. This is concerning.
The number of cases are climbing in our region, however not all cases are being tested or resulted. Do not be misled. We’re in the midst of a pandemic. We still need to heed the warnings from local, state and national leaders. People should not have a false sense of security. This is still very much a public health crisis.
Not every person who is experiencing some of the COVID-19 symptoms is appropriate for testing, and healthcare providers will be overwhelmed if testing is provided when not warranted. We are working with our local hospitals and healthcare providers to maintain their levels of readiness. Local healthcare providers are following CDC and Health Department guidelines along with physician direction when requesting testing. If the person being treated does not meet the guidelines to be tested, they may be sent home to self-quarantine for the suggested time. This is very important to help with minimizing unintended exposure.
The Joint Operations Center has asked for more supplies from our state and federal government, but currently they are not readily available. We are already limited on Personal Protective Equipment, and we never had access to the mass quantities of COVID-19 testing everyone hears about on national tv.
As beautiful Spring weather arrives, please remember this is not our usual Springtime in Texarkana. This is not Spring Break or a vacation. We need the public’s help to deal with this crisis. Clean or wash your hands. Keep a social distance. Avoid gatherings of ten or more. This is the only way to help contain and decrease the spread of this virus.
Follow CDC guidelines. Please stay at home, or semi-alone. Only you can prevent COVID-19.