Since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a public health emergency, officials in Texas have been educating themselves, making sure citizens remain safe.

“The emergency management (department) attended a meeting in reference to the coronavirus,” Harrison County Assistant Fire Marshal Duana Couch recently reported to the county commissioners court.

The meeting was hosted by the Henderson Police Department.

“The stats and things were good,” Couch said of the state of Texas. “We’re good.

“They just recommend, here, in Texas, that we continue washing our hands repeatedly, use sanitizer every chance you get; and hopefully it’ll stay out of Texas,” she said.

The World Health Organization announced on Tuesday that the official name for the disease that is causing 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak is COVID-19, the Texas Department of Health Services reported on its website. The new name stands for coronavirus disease 2019, WHO advised.

The Texas Department of Health Services informed in late January that its agency has been working with local health departments to asses people with respiratory illness and recent travel to China for possible 2019 novel coronavirus testing.

“If you are experiencing fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and you have traveled to China, been exposed to a sick traveler from China, or been exposed to a person with 2019-nCoV infection in the last 14 days, you should contact your healthcare provider,” the Texas Department of Health Services posted in a press release on its website, dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus. “DSHS is urging health care professionals to ask patients with respiratory symptoms about their travel history and contact their local or regional health department if they think a patient may have novel coronavirus.”

According to the DSHS, the coronavirus outbreak began in December 2019.

“Chinese health officials have reported thousands of infections in China, including some that resulted in death,” DSHS officials stated. “Many other countries have identified cases including the United States.”

There have been no confirmed cases in Texas.

The DSHS offers these simples steps to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses like the novel coronavirus:

  • 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.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.