Coronavirus/COVID-19 cases continue to climb across West Texas, including here in Schleicher County, where the latest number stands at 12.

The same can be said for the entire Lone Star State where a surge of COVID-19 cases threatens to sideline Governor Greg Abbott’s desire to rekindle the Texas economy.

Abbott urged Texans on Monday to be more cautious when going out in public.

“To state the obvious, COVID-19 is now spreading at an unacceptable rate in Texas,” Abbott said, adding later “If those spikes continue, additional measures are going to be necessary.”

But he said he has no immediate plans for a second shutdown of businesses, saying “Closing down Texas again will always be the last option.”

Abbott aggressively endorsed the wearing of masks by people in public settings. He mentioned an unnamed person in the hospitality industry who did not want to wear a mask and said he told the person that doing so could make the difference between keeping his business operating or perhaps closing down. The governor said the man came away convinced.

“When you go out, you should wear a face covering or mask,” Abbott said, adding later, “I also know that wearing a mask will help us keep Texas open,” he said.

Abbott’s more aggressive tone on masks now is because of the spike. No need to push it, he said, when the trend lines were flattening.

The total number of cases reported in Texas at 12 noon on Wednesday, June 23rd, was 120,370 with 2,220 deaths.

Closer to home, three neighboring counties, Menard (2), Sutton (3) and Edwards (1), recorded their first COVID-19 cases this week. All counties adjoining Schleicher are now reporting positive tests. The nearest county without a reported case is Sterling. As this edition went to press, only 11 of the state’s 254 counties have not reported a COVID-19 case.

Locally, Schleicher County Medical Center Administrator Paul Burke said that the recent rash of positive tests have led many people to come forward for testing. He noted that testing protocols require individuals to be screened before testing. He said they should meet certain criteria or show symptoms before receiving a test.

Burke also expressed his concern that people who have tested positive, or those who have been told to self-quarantine while awaiting their test results, are not taking the advice seriously. He said there are even reports of individuals attending birthday parties.

Burke said his staff is providing instructions to those awaiting test results in the form of a letter. A copy of that letter can be seen below.

Schleicher County’s COVID-19 tally reached a total of 12 on Friday, June 19th, with the addition of a Hispanic male in his 30s and a Hispanic female in her 30s, both of whom are said by the San Angelo Health Department to have been exposed to known cases.

The county recorded its first case on Friday, June 12th, a Hispanic male in his 30s who was said to have been exposed to the virus through travel.
Since that time, 10 additional cases have been recorded. One of the 10 was attributed to community spread while the remainder were said to have had contact with a known case.

Here is a list of the cases and descriptions. No other information is publicly available about the cases.

June 12, 2020
01) Hispanic male in his 30s -travel related

June 15, 2020
02) Hispanic male in his 30s - exposure to known case
03) Hispanic male in his 20s - exposure to known case
04) Hispanic infant male - exposure to known case
05) Hispanic female in her 20s - exposure to known case

June 16, 2020
06) Hispanic male in his 40s - community spread
07) Hispanic male in his 50s - exposure to known case

June 17, 2020
08) Hispanic female in her 50s - exposure to known case

June 18, 2020
09) Hispanic female in her 20s - exposure to known case
10) Hispanic female in her 20s - exposure to known case

June 19, 2020
11) Hispanic female in her 30s - exposure to known case
12) Hispanic male in his 30s - exposure to known case

Meanwhile, as the pandemic progresses, Eldorado residents are urged to continue to practice social distancing, while wearing protective equipment such as masks and gloves while in public.

DSHS Public Health Region 9/10 is reminding the public that it is conducting contact investigation on persons who have tested positive to determine possible exposure to others. If the health department has not contacted you, there is no need to take any action at this time.

Eldorado’s first confirmed cases also coincide with Phase III of Governor Greg Abbott’s plan to reopen the state’s economy. Almost all businesses are able to reopen to some degree under the plan with social distancing and capacity limits placed on restaurants and other establishments.

Personal care businesses like hair salons, barber shops and nail salons are also able to open for business, with certain restrictions.
Nursing homes remain locked down, however. That includes the Schleicher County Nursing Home which has cared for its residents behind locked doors since March 13th when Governor Abbott ordered all of the state’s nursing homes closed to visitors.

State officials continue to emphasize the importance of prevention and say that there are simple steps everyone can take to help prevent spreading the virus, including:

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

• If soap and water are not available, use a 60% 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.

• Practice social distancing by staying at least six feet away

• Stay at home and stop the spread of coronavirus

Up-to-date coronavirus information and what to do if you’re sick, including testing information is available at dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus.
According to the CDC website, Coronavirus/COVID-19 symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
Symptoms include:

• Fever or chills

• Cough

• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

• Fatigue

• Muscle or body aches

• Headache

• New loss of taste or smell

• Sore throat

• Congestion or runny nose

• Nausea or vomiting

• Diarrhea

SELF-QUARANTINE GUIDELINES
A letter provided by Schleicher County Family Clinic to individuals who should self-quarantine

You have been instructed to self-quarantine for 14 days or as instructed by your practitioner.

Do not return to work until end of quarantine or as instructed by your provider.

Schleicher County Family Clinic will provide you with a return to work letter when you are released.

Do not leave the quarantine area

• If you are instructed self-quarantine, please do not leave your quarantine area (your house, apartment, etc.)

• This includes leaving for anything other than immediate medical attention

Stay alone in an isolated area

• Keep the door closed, you can open a window to ventilate the room

• Eat by yourself

• If possible, use a separate bathroom and sink

• If you share a bathroom/sink, these should be disinfected (bleach/Clorox/etc.) after each use

If you need to leave the area for an inevitable reason, such as treatment, contact your local health center first

• Inform the health center you have been advised to self-quarantine and any symptoms you are currently having

Avoid contact with others

• Try to limit contact with others in your home as much as possible

• This includes speaking face-to-face to one another

If you cannot avoid contact with others:

• Remain 6 feet apart

• Wear face masks

• Try not to face directly towards each other

Use personal items separately (towels, utensils, mobile phone, etc.)

• Wash clothes and bedding separately from other’s in the household

• Separate tableware/utensils, so others don’t use it before it is cleaned

Comply with the health guidelines

• Wear a mask when around others

• Wash/sanitize hands frequently

• Avoid touching your face