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Angelina County & Cities Health District administrator says COVID-19 'a matter of when, not if,’ in Deep East Texas

Updated: Mar. 6, 2020 at 7:19 PM CST
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - The Angelina County & Cities Health District administrator Sharon Shaw found an audience of community leaders to express an important message regarding COVID-19.

“We're working on plans that have graduated responses. I mean, stage 1, stage 2, stage 3 if, and when we see COVID-19 in the East Texas area," said Shaw to Angelina County Chamber of Commerce members.

According Shaw, it’s a likely probability.

"It's going to be a 'when',” said Shaw during an interview. “Our partners in the Houston area have cases. We are following individuals in the Deep East Texas area who have traveled."

Shaw says the world is only one plane ride away. So, Shaw is asked, is she concerned about spring break travelers?

"That's a good question. Anytime leaving your normal routine offers opportunities for concern, but I don't think any more concerned than what I am right now."

A Public Health Preparedness team works closely with area hospitals to be ready for the first patient.

“If it becomes apparent that that individual needs to have a higher level of care in a specialty center, they may be transferred, but at this point, there are no plans to transfer COVID-19 patients," shared Shaw.

Shaw says any COVID-19 detection will be announced in the local community.

As the health district prepares, Shaw is advising leaders of places where people congregate to do the same.

A good place to start, she says, is to determine, “At what point will we not meet as a school, or a college, or as a church.”

Shaw suggests that parents develop backup childcare plans. And do not disregard the message of how to prevent any communicable virus, no matter how many times you've heard it.

“So, don’t get bored people because you are going to hear this information over and over. Let’s get back to good practices of handwashing and taking care of ourselves and family if and when we fall ill. And looking out for others.”

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