The Noble Report: Special Coronavirus Update from the StateWe had a call with the Governor this afternoon. I wanted to update you on what I learned.
I was included, along with State Representatives, State Senators and Mayors from around the state, on a call with the Governor this afternoon. We, as a state, are preparing for the Coronavirus as if we are preparing for a state-wide hurricane, with hopes that it will turn back to sea, but ready if it hits.
We were updated with information from Governor Greg Abbott, Dr. John Hellerstedt, Commissioner, Department of State Health Services, Chief Nim Kidd, Texas Division of Emergency Management, and Mike Morath, Commissioner of the Texas Education Agency. I am confident that these leaders have prepared well for the days ahead.
With the safety and well-being of our families first and foremost on all of our minds, I wanted to reach out and provide some information regarding COVID-19.
Texas is in the early phase of community spread. We have 23 confirmed cases across the State. In addition, we have 104 individuals who are being tested and monitored for the virus.
Governor Abbott, in collaboration with state, federal and local partners, is working diligently to navigate this rapidly changing situation. On the call earlier this afternoon, Gov. Abbott stated that “Our goal is to contain the spread of the virus while remaining ready for all possibilities.”
While we know that we're going to see more cases in Texas, the Governor's office, along with the Department of State Health Services and the Texas Division of Emergency Management remain proactive in order to stay ahead of whatever is coming.
Protocols are in place for testing and our State Health Department is doing everything in their means to expand access. In Collin County we have access to both public and private labs that can run the test, after your doctor determines if you need to be tested. A specimen, via a swab, is collected and sent to the lab to be tested. Please understand that not everyone who feels sick should be tested- your doctor will determine if you are at risk of having been exposed.
We also learned today that Commissioner Mike Morath of the Texas Education Agency has been in constant contact with school districts. In fact, starting tomorrow, Commissioner Morath will begin daily calls with our state's school Superintendents. How schools decide to educate their students (in person at the school building, or utilizing distance learning through online courses or homework packets) are a local decision and it is up to our local Superintendents as we go forward.
It was just announced that our local HD89 school districts and Collin College will extend Spring Break for an additional week as they evaluate the path forward.
An interesting question was asked on the call: Can you get the virus more than once? The answer is: we don’t know yet. We do know that after a person has had the virus, antibodies are present, but we are still not sure how effective they are in protecting against subsequent exposure to the virus.
What we do know is that exposure from more than 6 feet away is unlikely (the virus can be spread through the air through coughing), so maintaining a safe distance is a precaution we can all take to protect ourselves. If you feel sick, please don’t go out into public.
The best place for Texans to find information on COVID-19 is the Department of State Health Services website: DSHS.state.tx.us/coronavirus/
I will continue to keep you updated as information becomes available.
Meanwhile, please join me in praying for all those affected, for an end to the spread of the virus, and for wisdom for all those who are making decisions in the days ahead.