Status Update from the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 11, 2020 - 3:00 PM
For more information, please contact: Misti Willingham, Public Information Officer C: 936.537.0611
MONTGOMERY COUNTY – Montgomery County Public Health District, in conjunction with the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management, continues to monitor a presumptive positive case of a Northwest Montgomery County resident; we are still awaiting CDC confirmation of the positive result. He is in fair but stable condition in a hospital in Montgomery County. It has been revealed that the man, who is in his 40s, attended the BBQ Cookoff affiliated with the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo on Friday, February 28, 2020. Per public health protocol, MCPHD notified Harris County Public Health on March 10th of the patient’s whereabouts since it involved Harris County, not an event in Montgomery County. Harris County Public Health has since launched an investigation into who may have come in contact with him while he attended the event. MCPHD has been in contact with his close contacts in Montgomery County, and they are all under a 14-day quarantine per protocol from the Centers of Disease Control (CDC). Contacts who reside outside of Montgomery County have been turned over to the health departments in the counties in which they reside.
Citing safety concerns, Harris County and the City of Houston decided to cancel the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for the remainder of the season. Montgomery County has multiple highly attended events as well. Montgomery County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management has chosen to wait for CDC confirmation before making any decisions regarding canceling events in Montgomery County.
Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough said, “We understand the enormous impact these events have on our community as a whole, so a decision to cancel a large event will not be taken lightly. We are currently monitoring this rapidly changing situation and are looking to our medical community for guidance. At this time, the recommendation is not to cancel community events.”
At this time, there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19, and no medications approved to treat it. Non-pharmaceutical interventions like hand-washing, disinfecting surfaces around your home, and staying home when you are sick are the most important response strategies.
Although the risk for the general public in Texas remains low, the Texas Department of State Health Services 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 COVID-19. DSHS is working with local health departments to monitor and assess people with recent, relevant travel history and others for possible COVID-19 testing.
All travelers who have returned from flagged countries should stay home and monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days. They should consult with a health care provider if they develop fever, cough or shortness of breath within that period. Local health departments across the state are in contact daily with returned travelers to verify that they remain symptom-free.
Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others within about six feet through respiratory droplets released into the air by coughing and sneezing, close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands; touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands; and rarely, fecal contamination.
Patients with confirmed 2019-nCoV infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath. The CDC believes that symptoms of 2019-nCoV may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure.
If you are a healthcare provider, be on the look-out for people who recently traveled from flagged countries and have fever and respiratory symptoms. If you are a healthcare provider caring for a COVID-19 patient or a public health responder, please take care of yourself and follow recommended infection control procedures. If you have potentially been exposed to someone sick with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, you will face some limitations on your movement and activity. Cooperation is integral to the ongoing public health response to try to slow spread of this virus. If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, contact your healthcare provider, and tell them about your symptoms and your travel or exposure to a COVID-19 patient before arriving to seek medical care.
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.
• 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.
For more information, please see https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/.
Montgomery County Public Health District’s mission is promoting a healthy, resilient community through health education, disease prevention, clinical services, and emergency preparedness. For more information about the Montgomery County Public Health District please go to www.mcphd-tx.org.
Meghan Ballard Arthur Homeland Security Planner and Public Information Officer
Montgomery County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management
O: 936.523.3907 | C: 936.522.6571 email@example.com