April 3, 2020 - On behalf of the Shelby County Office of Emergency Management and County Judge Alison Harbison, we are providing an update on the COVID-19 Pandemic as it relates to our county.
It was reported yesterday evening that we have 8 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Shelby County. One more case has been reported to us by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) bringing our current total to 9.
I would like to explain further the process of this reporting. We have been inundated with calls and messages from concerned citizens wanting to know the names of individuals that have been confirmed. DSHS contacts the County Emergency Management Coordinator and informs her of any and all new cases. Because of strict HIPPA laws and strict DSHS confidentiality policies the names of the individuals are not given out by DSHS to anyone, not to me, not to the Emergency Management Coordinator.
Once an individual is given a COVID- 19 positive test result, DSHS launches a case investigation on them. The individual is asked who they have been in close contact with and those individuals are then contacted by DSHS and are asked questions and based on their answers they are given instructions on self-care and isolating themselves or given information or a referral to their primary care physician for testing. Focusing on “who & where” at this point is useless .That is not to say those individuals testing positive can’t tell whoever they please about their diagnosis.
The names and locations of the individuals is not relevant. What is relevant is that there are 9 confirmed cases in our county at this time and only one of those cases is thought to be travel related (according to DSHS investigations) meaning the other 8 are community spread…meaning the virus is here in Shelby County & could be being spread anywhere. That is the reason a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order was enacted on Monday March ,30th. At this point, the best advice I can give is pretend you have COVID-19 and pretend everyone you come in contact with has it and please remember, this should not be a “witch hunt”.
I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for all your concerted efforts in your attempts to help alleviate the spread of coronavirus in our community and sincerely ask that “you” continue to look after “you” and “you” take care of “you” by
- Following the “Stay at Home, Stay Safe” order,
- Practicing social distancing,
- Washing hands thoroughly and frequently, or using hand sanitizer
- Try to avoid touching your face
- cleaning surfaces frequently
- staying home if you’re ill
Let’s keep in mind that we are all in this together and we will all get through this together. Please, stay home as much as humanly possible and stay safe.