San Angelo man tests positive for COVID-19, cornoavirus

By Melissa Perner
The Ozona Stockman

     Health officials have confirmed the first case of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, in Tom Green County.
    On Tuesday, March 24, health officials said in a news release the patient is a man in his 70s who had traveled. The man came into San Angelo after traveling internationally and is being treated here.
    It is not a case of community transmission, said Mayor Brenda Gunter during an afternoon news conference. Gunter said the city could not release where the man had travel.
    “We have known that COVID-19 was coming to the Concho Valley,” said Dr. James Vretis, local health authority. “We have been preparing for several weeks for the arrival. I ask members of our community to remember that it is the simple things done correctly that will save lives. Wash your hands, cover your cough and stay away from sick people. Don’t go to work if you’re sick. The simple things you were taught as a child will help us through this disease.”
    At 2 p.m. Monday, the city reported 144 tests had been administered and 41 were returned as negative for coronavirus. It can take up to 7 days to get test results, Shannon Health officials have said.  
    As of Tuesday, Texas had 715 positive cases in 65 counties. Eleven people in Texas have died from the virus. More than 11,000 people have been tested, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Dr. Marcus Sims said Monday that Crockett County does not have any positive cases, but that it’s a matter of time.
One person in Sonora has been tested for COVID-19/Coronavirus and that test has returned negative, according to Lillian M. Hudspeth Hospital administrator Andy Kolb who confirmed the negative test result on Tuesday, March 24, according to The Devil’s River News.
“It’s not if, it’s when,” Sims said. “There will be some cases showing up. We have seen that 98-99 percent of the people who come down with this virus are going to get well, but it’s still not something to be taken lightly. If you are real worried about it, act like everyone you come into contact with it has it. It’s not the end of the world.”
Sims said not everyone who comes into the Ozona Clinic will be tested. He said there are specific guidelines that must be asked of patients before they can be tested.
“Fever by itself is not the guideline for the test. Cough and a runny nose are not the guidelines for tests. There are other qualifiers. I haven’t had anybody meet that criteria,” Sims said.
COVID-19 symptoms may show up 2-14 days after exposure, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. The most common symptoms are fever, a dry cough and shortness of breath.
According to the Center for Disease Control, coronavirus can spread easily when people come in close contact with one another, within six feet, or when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
The best prevention of the virus is to:
•    Wash hands often for 20 seconds and encourage others to do the same.
•    If no soap and water are available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
•    Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue away.
•    Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
•    Disinfect surfaces, buttons, handles, knobs, and other places touched often.
•    Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
The population that seems to be hit the hardest by the virus is people ages 60 and over and those with any autoimmune deficiency.

Governor Greg Abbott has ordered no gatherings larger than 10 and that all schools be closed until April 3. He also ordered all restaurants must close their dine-in rooms and all gyms be closed.
Abbott said people need to stay at home as much as possible, including working from home, especially those that are sick, older or have medical conditions.
“The social distancing, which is hard for us all, I think those are appropriate steps. I don’t want to see anyone get sick and pass away,” Sims said.
Abbott has requested President Donald J. Trump declare a Major Disaster Declaration, requesting individual crisis counseling and public assistance for emergency protective measures including direct federal assistance for all 254 Texas counties.
On Tuesday, Abbott also launched an online portal run by the Supply Chain Strike Force to streamline the process and validation of leads for more supplies. The portal, accessible through, will serve as an intake process for those wanting to provide valid leads on PPE and donations. The portal also serves as a portal for those wanting to donate supplies, services, or your time—including medical professionals and nurses looking to volunteer.
“The State of Texas is rapidly accelerating the purchasing and delivery of essential personal protection equipment and other supplies to aid in our COVID-19 response,” said Governor Abbott. “The Supply Chain Strike Force is working in concert with the Texas Division of Emergency Management to secure these vital resources and to swiftly distribute them to medical professionals, hospitals, and first responders in communities throughout the state. We thank all those who have already offered donations to meet our supply needs. I urge all Texans who would like to donate essential supplies and all medical professionals who are willing to volunteer their time and expertise to visit to find out how they can help.”

The Governor also issued an Executive Order to better track both hospital bed capacity and COVID-19 test results across the state. The Executive Order requires all hospitals, excluding psychiatric hospitals, to submit daily reports on hospital bed capacity to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) who will then share this information with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The order also requires every public or private entity utilizing FDA-approved COVID-19 tests to submit daily reports of all results to the local health department and DSHS who will then share this information with the CDC.


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