Health officials verified positive COVID-19 tests in Bryan and Carter Counties on March 25, bringing the pandemic that much closer to home for Marshall County residents.
In the last week, Texas health officials have also confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in Fannin, Grayson and Lamar counties, which border the Red River.
In a statement released Wednesday, Julie Williamson – public information officer for the Carter County Health Department and OSDH District 8 – said her office is investigating a new case with a positive COVID-19 laboratory test.
“Local public health nurses are reaching out to those who are at a high risk of exposure from that case,” she said.
OSDH District 8 Regional Administrative Director Mendy Spohn said a positive case in the community does not change their message. District 8 includes Carter, Garvin, Love, Jefferson, Johnston, Marshall, Murray, Pontotoc, and Stephens Counties.
“All community members are encouraged to stay at home, limit personal contacts, wash hands thoroughly, and avoid touching their face,” Spohn said.
Meanwhile, AllianceHealth Durant announced last night the first positive COVID-19 test in Bryan County.
“We have been working collaboratively with the Bryan County and Oklahoma Department of Health while testing was completed for an individual who presented to our facility with risk factors and symptoms consistent with those associated with novel Coronavirus,” the hospital said in a statement.
“The test results have confirmed the patient has COVID-19. The individual remains at home under quarantine. We take seriously our role in helping to keep our community healthy, and we appreciate the agencies that are assisting us.”
A message left with Julianne Montgomery; Regional Director for the Bryan County Health Department was not immediately returned.
Spohn went on to provide additional guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
“If you are experiencing symptoms such as fever, dry cough, difficulty breathing, or shortness of breath, the CDC advises you to stay quarantined for 14 days,” she said. “Most people will not need to be tested as a test result does not change the treatment recommendations. The symptoms of COVID-19 may last 7-12 days.”
Spohn reiterated a message her office has previously shared with local media outlets.
“Those who are concerned can call the Coronavirus Call Center at 877-215-8336 or dial 2-1-1,” she said. “Most patients will be able to care for themselves at home without going to the doctor. However, if symptoms become severe or do not respond to over-the-counter treatments, people should contact their doctor by phone for further instructions.”
A new status-quo
The positive cases mean these counties will fall under the Governor’s amended executive order as of March 24, 2020 relating to closure of non-essential businesses as follows:
• Requires restaurants in Oklahoma counties with confirmed COVID-19 cases to provide take-out and delivery options only and closes all bars in those counties.
• Closes all businesses not identified as being within a critical infrastructure sector, such as gyms, salons, massage parlors and movie theaters, where counties have community spread effective March 25 at 11:59PM through April 15. Federal guidance on the essential critical infrastructure workforce can be found here: www.cisa.gov/publication/guidance-essential-critical-infrastructure-workforce
Positive laboratory results for COVID-19 are reported by the county where the patient resides, daily after 11 a.m. at https://coronavirus.health.ok.gov/