16 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Cherokee County

by From the office of Cherokee County Judge Chris Davis

UPDATED 9:15 a.m. Friday, May 1 – Three more cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Cherokee County, bringing the total number of local cases to 16.

Jacksonville city officials reported one of the three new cases (Cherokee County Case #16) is located within the city limits of Jacksonville.

"This is the second reported case in the Jacksonville city limits, and the only known active case in the Jacksonville city limits," Jacksonville Communications Director Andrew Lugo stated in an official press release.

Out of the total 16 cases, three cases are travel related and seven cases have been determined to be acquired through community spread.

"Community spread is when there is person-person infection of a virus in an area, including individuals whose infection has an unknown origin," Cherokee County Public Health Department's Emergency Preparedness & Disease Surveillance Branch Manager Grace Mikhail said. "The definition of community spread, according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary is, “the spread of a contagious disease to individuals in a particular geographic location who have no known contact with other infected individuals or who have not recently traveled to an area where the disease has any documented cases."

Human coronaviruses are most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, such as coughs and sneezes. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath, these symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Everyone has ways that they can contribute to slow the spread of the virus and should remember to:

• Wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed or gloved hands.

• Avoid close contact with those who are sick.

• Stay at home as much as possible.

• Put distance between yourself and other people.

o Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

o Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus.

• Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around other people (grocery shopping, pharmacy, etc.).

• If you are in a private setting and do not have your cloth face covering, remember to cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Texas Health and Human Services has a 24/7 statewide mental health support line to help Texans experiencing anxiety, stress or emotional challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. People can call the Statewide COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week toll-free at (833) 986 - 1919. Further information regarding COVID-19 can be found at https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/coronavirus/ and https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.