WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas - Williamson County officials have reported the third COVID-19 coronavirus-related death in the county.
The Williamson County and Cities Health District (WCCHD) says due to privacy protection laws they are unable to release any detailed patient information beyond that the resident was a woman in her 60s.
In a news release, Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell says, "Every life is valuable to God and to our Williamson County. We are heartbroken." Gravell also held a news conference to discuss the latest on the coronavirus in the county.
In addition, WCCHD says that there are four new positive COVID-19 cases in the county which brings the total in Williamson County to 81. “The reality is as county judge in Williamson County, Texas I believe we’re at war,” said Gravell.
Fox 7 Austin stopped by trails in the county where people like Angie McWethy are following the social distancing guidelines, “Most people are taking it very seriously but as it hits closer to home we see more people take extreme measures,” said McWethy.
Following this recent death, Gravell gave an update on how the county is doing. One of the issues Gravell said when the pandemic first hit was they had little to no test kits available. Now, the county has more than 1000 kits which they spent $70,000 on.
“Today we’re going to test our first responders, our doctors, and nurses, and anyone whose been exposed to this who is out here protecting us,” said Gravell.
The county is now making moves to designate a nursing home somewhere in Round Rock to be used for the elderly who test positive for COVID-19. “Isolate them in that nursing care facility and to take care of them with doctors and nurses. I want you to know we are working as hard as we can to take care of not only our most valuable population but most vulnerable,” said Gravell.
When going out the county is now urging people to follow the CDC guideline in wearing something to cover your face like a cloth or fabric mask if you have the supplies. “I want to ask anyone in central Texas who has the ability to sew, who has fabric who has elastic, we need your help and as county judge, I’m calling on you to help us,” said Gravell.
Some people like McWethy are already working on ways they can help.
“I don’t have good sewing skills so there is a lady in my neighborhood that needed thread and straight pins and I had plenty of that so I donated what I could," McWethy said. "At the end of the day if you don’t have the skill but you have the material anything can help people because it’s not just the healthcare professionals that need help; it’s our police department and anyone that’s being heavily exposed and putting themselves on the front lines."
If you have symptoms of respiratory illness including cough, fever and shortness of breath, please contact your health care provider.
Officials say it is important to call ahead before arriving at a clinic, urgent care or emergency department to avoid potential spread.
Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu.
Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever.
Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.
Right now there's one big difference between flu and coronavirus: A vaccine exists to help prevent the flu and it's not too late to get it. It won't protect you from catching the coronavirus but may put you in a better position to fight it.
To protect yourself, wash your hands well and often, keep them away from your face, and avoid crowds and standing close to people.
And if you do find yourself showing any of these flu or coronavirus symptoms - don't go straight to your doctor's office. That just risks making more people sick, officials urge. Call ahead, and ask if you need to be seen and where.
FOX 7 Austin is working to keep you up to date with coronavirus, with both local and national developments. Every weekday we're live at 12 p.m. with a special show reporting the latest news, prevention tips and treatment information.
You can also get the latest COVID-19 news from around the country at coronavirusnow.com.