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Health Department

Posted on: May 26, 2020

Public Health Announcement: A Look at the Numbers - COVID-19 Cases - Port Arthur and Mid County

COVID-19 image3

May 26, 2020

The Port Arthur Health Department has gathered the data on the status of the Coronavirus cases in Port Arthur, and Mid County, according to age, gender, and ethnicity, as of May 22, 2020. 

The situation is fluid as the health departments are receiving results from the testing sites, the hospitals, and other private labs.  The data below reflects current reports.

Please take a look at the data:

COVID data for 5-26-2020 charts pdf

The City of Port Arthur Health Department has prepared Q&A to assist you during these uncertain times.  We want you to know that we are here for you and will update this list as we hear new concerns.

Q: My business has been allowed to reopen with limited capacity.  What does that mean if I’m allowed 25% or 50%?

Answer:

If your business is on the list authorized to open with 25% capacity, this means that you are allowed to open to the public only allowing 25% percent of your occupancy load inside (including staff). Your occupancy load has been established by the Fire Marshall’s office.  

Here is an example:

Business A: Occupancy load is 500. 25% of 500 is calculated by multiplying 0.25 and 500.

                   500

                X 0.25

                   125

Business B: Occupancy load is 250. 50% of 250 is calculated by multiplying 0.50 and 250.

                  250

               X 0.50

                 125

Here is a chart with calculated occupancy load at 25% and 50%:

 

Occupancy Load

25%

50%

50

12.5

25

100

25

50

250

62.5

125

500

125

250

1000

250

500

Q: Why should I test when I have no symptoms?

Answer: 

The CDC guidelines have suggested that even if you do not have symptoms, the public should be tested to minimize the possibility of spread of the COVID-19 disease. In addition, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
  • If your test is negative, you still should adhere to social distancing guidelines to avoid the risk of exposing yourself after the result.
  • Some who have taken the test do not adhere to the guidelines for safety, only to be exposed later due to not covering their faces, nor keeping away from people they do not normally live with. The risk is highest when citizens do not take into consideration the need for social distancing.
  • Local health authorities suggest that everyone should wear a cloth/other face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.

Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.

Do NOT use a face mask meant for a healthcare worker.

Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.


Q: Why should I wear a mask when out in public? 

Answer:

The Centers for Disease Control continue to study the spread and effects of the Novel Coronavirus across the United States. We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with Coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”**) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.

This means:

  • that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity
  • for example, speaking,
  • coughing,
  • or sneezing

**Even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.

In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

Q: What does the CDC say about cloth face masks?

Answer: 

Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others:

  • You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
  • Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.
  • Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
  • Do NOT use a face mask meant for a healthcare worker.

Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.

Q: What mental health resources are available for me during these uncertain times? 

Answer:

COVID-19 Intellectual or Developmental Disability (IDD) and Behavioral Health Resources

Texans experiencing anxiety, stress or emotional changes due to the pandemic can seek help from these resources found on Texas Health and Human Services website:

https://hhs.texas.gov/services/mental-health-substance-use/mental-health-substance-use-resources 


Q: Why aren’t the names of COVID-19 positive patients being released?

Answer: 

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law that requires the protection of sensitive patient health information. This law bars the disclosure of certain medical information without the patient’s formal written consent.

During the COVID-19 public health emergency, the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has provided guidance that helps to explain civil rights laws as well as how the HIPAA Privacy Rule allows patient information to be shared in the outbreak of infectious diseases and to assist patients in receiving the care that they need. https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/special-topics/hipaa-covid19/index.html

The local health department and health officials are performing contact tracing of positive patients and notifying those who may have been exposed to make certain that the appropriate medical protocol will be taken.


Q: What steps can I take to keep myself and loved ones protected? 

Answer:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash. If tissues are not available, cough and sneeze into your elbow. Do not cough and sneeze into your hands.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Get a flu shot. The flu vaccine does not offer protection against COVID-19, but it is also flu season.

PLEASE ADHERE TO THE STAY AT HOME ORDERS ISSUED BY THE CITY OF PORT ARTHUR AND BY JEFFERSON COUNTY.

Q: Why should I stay at home when I don’t feel sick?

Answer:

Per the CDC, there are reports of asymptomatic infections (detection of virus with no development of symptoms) and pre-symptomatic infections (detection of virus prior to development of symptoms) with SARS-CoV-2, but their role in transmission is not yet known. Based on existing literature, the incubation period (the time from exposure to development of symptoms) of SARS-CoV-2 and other corona viruses (e.g. MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV), ranges from 2–14 days.

  • Simply put, there is a possibility that a person may be infected with COVID-19 and not experience symptoms.  This is the reason certain guidelines have been put in place.
  • COVID-19 is a new virus that is being researched.  At the present, there are questions on which bodily fluids transmit the virus. While viable, infectious SARS-CoV has been isolated from respiratory, blood, urine, and stool specimens.  It is not yet known whether other non-respiratory body fluids from an infected person including vomit, urine, breast milk, or semen can contain viable, infectious SARS-CoV-2.
  • We urge everyone to obey ALL social distancing guidelines.  These guidelines are in place to help keep everyone safe and healthy. 

Feel free to contact the COVID-19 hotline at (409)550-2536 24hrs/Everyday with questions or concerns.

Q: How do I Clean and Disinfect my home?

Be sure to wear gloves to clean and disinfect:

Answer:

  • Clean surfaces using soap and water. Practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces.
    • High touch surfaces include: Tables, doorknobs, light switches, counter tops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc.
  • Disinfect 
    • Clean the area or item with soap and water or another detergent if it is dirty. Then, use a household disinfectant. 
    • Follow the instructions on the label to ensure safe and effective use of the product.

    • Take precautions such as wearing gloves, and make sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.

    • Unexpired household bleach will be effective against corona viruses when properly diluted.

    • To make a bleach solution, mix:

      • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) of bleach per gallon of water, OR

      • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water

      • Leave solution on the surface for at least 1 minute.

  • Clean hands often
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
    • Always wash immediately after removing gloves and after contact with a person who is sick.
    • Hand sanitizer: If soap and water are not readily available and hands are not visibly dirty, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. However, if hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water.
    • Additional key times to clean hands include:
      • After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing
      • After using the restroom
      • Before eating or preparing food
      • After contact with animals or pets
      • Before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance (e.g. a child)
      • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Q:  What should I do if I have a positive test?

You should take steps to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community:

Answer:

  • Stay home: Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and are able to recover at home without medical care. Do not leave your home, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas.
  • Avoid public transportation: Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
  • Stay away from others: As much as possible, stay away from others. You should stay in a specific “sick room” if possible, and away from other people and pets in your home. Use a separate bathroom, if available. You should wear a cloth face covering, over your nose and mouth if you must be around other people even at home.

Q: Who should I call if I have a positive test?

Answer:

  • Stay in touch with your doctor. Call before you get medical care. Be sure to get care if you have trouble breathing, or have any other emergency warning signs, or if you think it is an emergency.
  • Call ahead. Many Medical visits for routine care are being postponed or done by phone or teleconference (if available).
  • If you have a medical appointment that cannot be postponed, call your doctor’s office, and tell them you have or may have COVID-19.  This will help the office protect themselves and other patients.

Q: How long will I have to quarantine if I have a positive test?

Answer:

People with COVID-19 who have stayed home (home, isolated) can stop home isolation only under the following conditions:

  • If you will NOT have a test to determine if you are still contagious, you can leave home after these three things have happened:
    • You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three (3) full days of no fever, and without the use medicine that reduces fevers), AND
    • other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved), AND
    • at least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared.
  • If you WILL be tested to determine if you are still contagious, you can leave home AFTER these three things have happened:
    • You no longer have a fever (without the use medicine that reduces fevers), AND
    • other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved), AND
    • you received two negative tests in a row, 24 hours apart. Your doctor will follow CDC guidelines.

COVID-19 Data as of May 4, 2020- Jefferson County

 

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