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Coronavirus COVID-19 Local News

Comal Public Health Sets Up Coronavirus Hotline

Cheryl Fraser, Comal County's director of Public Health, said her office is emphasizing caution, not panic, but urges residents to limit close contact with others.

Comal County has zero confirmed cases of COVID-19, but the Office of Public Health is preparing for its arrival

Cheryl Fraser, director of Public Health, said today her office has set up a hotline for residents with coronavirus-related questions or concerns. The hotline – 830-221-1120 – will be staffed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

To manage the hotline and continue with its COVID-19 preparations, Public Health has closed its office to the public. Residents instead should call the office at 830-221-1150.

Fraser urges residents to limit close contact with others to avoid contracting and spreading the novel coronavirus.

Residents experiencing fever, coughing or shortness of breath – especially those with a recent history of travel to places with a COVID-19 outbreak – should stay home, call their primary care provider and not overload local emergency rooms or urgent care clinics, she said.

“I want to emphasize caution but not panic,” Fraser said. “Residents should be taking steps to avoid contracting and spreading the virus, but no one from Comal County has yet tested positive for it.”

“The most effective thing anyone can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to take common-sense steps to reduce their exposure,” she said. “Residents should also be aware that even if they are not part of an at-risk group, they can still spread it to those who are unless they take proper precautions.”

The Office of Public Health encourages county residents to take the following actions:
• Stay home if you are sick. Treat your symptoms and self-quarantine.
• Do not go to the emergency room unless you are experiencing a medical emergency.
• If healthy, limit close contact with others: Work from home if at all possible, pay bills online or over the phone, use grocery store pickup services if available and shop online.
• Do not visit hospitals or nursing facilities if you are not a patient or resident.

Testing is limited and being coordinated by physicians through the Office of Public Health, with members of at-risk groups receiving priority.

In addition, other county offices have made the following changes:
• As authorized under Gov. Greg Abbott’s disaster declaration, the Comal County Jail has suspended visitation with inmates. Attorney visitations will continue.
• The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has canceled all in-person meetings and events for this week.
• The district courts have canceled jury dockets for this week.
• Comal County Court-at-Law No. 1 has canceled all court proceedings for this week.

Last week, the Office of Public Health conducted a planning exercise to test the community’s preparedness for a potential COVID-19 outbreak. About 60 people representing entities from across the county – including municipalities, first responders, hospitals, schools and nursing homes – participated, working through scenarios, plans and challenges they would face.

Likewise, the office is meeting regularly with state and federal health officials, monitoring the latest developments in a rapidly evolving situation.

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