People who contract Covid 19 will be told to quarantine in their residences and treat the symptoms.
“Unless you have severe pulmonary arrest, you’re going to ride it out in your house,” Orange County Judge John Gothia said Monday morning.
Gothia talked about the local aspects of the pandemic on KOGT’s ‘People in the Know’ on The Morning Show hosted by Gary Stelly.
Sunday, a health test return showed Orange County has one positive test. As of Monday morning, another 11 local swabs were out for testing. Two previous tests were negative.
Privacy laws prohibit officials from releasing names and addresses of those who test positive for Covid 19. Gothia said health officials question people with the disease and trace their contacts. The officials also ask about groups the person has been around and notify others who may have had contact.
Only people with symptoms are being tested. Gothia said a person who has Covid 19 has gone without symptoms for 10 to 14 days as they carried the virus.
Governor Greg Abbott set a restriction against gatherings of more than 10 beginning at midnight this past Friday. And there were many photos on social media of quarantine parties at bars and restaurants.
“We shouldn’t be trying to circumvent the rules because this is a health emergency,” Gothia said. “We all need to be smart about all this.”
He said law enforcement officers were sent to some gatherings and talked to the people about crowds and spreading the virus.
The judge stressed the need to keep contacts with other people to a minimum. He said he has talked to young adults who say they don’t worry because the age group has a low fatality rate of the disease. “You may get over it, but you could give it to someone else who won’t,” he said.
On Friday, a regional testing center was set up in Beaumont. However, only people who are directed to the testing site may go. Health professionals are screening people to be tested by questioning them on a hotline phone.
Gothia said region officials are working to set up another testing site, perhaps in Orange County. The availabilty of testing kits is limited and testing laboratories are backed up. He said more labs are being opened.
However, a lack of protective gear is also hampering an effort for drive-up testing. Gothia said each drive-through needs 12 people. They must wear full protective suits with head coverings. And the gear cannot be shared.
Gothia said the worldwide pandemic has created a shortage of protective gear.
The governor has called out the National Guard to duty and the judge hopes the guard can help set up more sites.
Orange County has requested a mobile hospital like the one established here after Harvey. Gothia said Baptist Hospital of Southeast Texas owns the vacated hospital on Strickland Drive and the county cannot use it.
He said local officials have been in contact with the three hospitals in the area, including Baptist Hospital Beaumont. No one has offered the Orange facilities.
Gothia urges people to stay at their residences, even though a shelter-in-place order has not been issued. Dallas County Sunday ordered people to shelter. He said he expects other big cities to issue similar orders. Be prepared that the governor may call a statewide shelter order like the one in Louisiana.
At this time, there is no medicine against the disease. Gothia said people who have it need to quarantine and take fever reducers. The CDC also says cold and flu medications can help with the symptoms. Sick people also need to keep hydrated with water and things like Gatorade.
If a patient has trouble breathing, they need to seek medical help.
The next week is crucial to stopping the spread of Covid 19, the judge stressed. “I would be prepared for anything,” he said.
But he also offered hope. “We will come out of this,” he said.