Austin, TX (STL.News) Texas Governor Greg Abbott today met with state health officials for a briefing on the novel (new) coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Texas. The leaders discussed the current status of the coronavirus in the United States, as well as what Texas is doing to combat any potential threats. The Governor was briefed by Texas Health and Human Services (HHS) Commissioner Courtney Phillips, Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Commissioner John William Hellerstedt, and Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) Chief Nim Kidd.
“Through the coordinated efforts of our state agencies, Texas is working tirelessly to ensure every community has the resources and preventative measures needed to respond to the coronavirus,” said Governor Abbott. “The Lone Star State will remain vigilant to protect the health and safety of all Texans.”
Several state actions have been taken to ensure the health and safety of Texans. DSHS, the lead agency for response, has activated the State Medical Operations Center (SMOC) virtually. The SMOC serves as a touchpoint for any requests from local entities, and also ensures consistent collection, tracking, and reporting of activities and data. TDEM is coordinating with local agencies on logistics to ensure relevant supplies are available to communities across Texas. All agencies are actively communicating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), local health departments, regional advisory councils, health providers, and local entities to share pertinent information and provide updates on protocols and processes.
DSHS is also working with local health departments to assess people with respiratory illness and recent travel to the province of Hubei, China for possible 2019 novel coronavirus testing. Travelers should monitor themselves for symptoms and contact their health care provider if they develop fever, cough or shortness of breath within 14 days of being in Hubei. DSHS is urging health care professionals to ask patients with respiratory symptoms about their travel history and contact their local or regional health department if they think a patient may have novel coronavirus.
How to avoid infection with 2019-nCoV:
The best way to prevent infection is to take precautions to avoid exposure to this virus, which are similar to the precautions you take to avoid the flu. CDC always recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.