With the health and well-being of our residents in mind, the City of Athens is sharing the following information about the coronavirus COVID-19.
"These are difficult times," said Mayor Monte Montgomery, "but I know that Athenians are resilient and will come together to support and protect their neighbors. Please follow the guidance and common sense prevention measures suggested by our public health officials."
The City of Athens encourages residents to pay municipal court or water bills online at municipalonlinepayments.com/athenstx. If you cannot pay online, you can utilize the drive-thru at City Hall. Remember, minimizing face-to-face contact is an important step in slowing down the coronavirus.
As of Sunday, March 15, there were no known cases of COVID-19 in Henderson County, according to the Northeast Texas Public Health District.
Virus is Spread
-- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
-- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
-- Droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
-- It may be possible to be infected by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching the mouth, nose, or eyes, although this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads
Symptoms (*emergency warning signs)
The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
-- Shortness of breath
-- *Difficulty breathing
-- *Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
-- *New confusion or inability to arouse
-- *Bluish lips or face
High Risk Individuals
Minimizing exposure is especially important for people who are 65 or older or who have an underlying health condition like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or cancer. People in those groups have a higher risk of developing severe disease if they do get COVID-19, and the safest thing for them during an outbreak will be to stay home as much as possible and minimize close contact with other people.
Public health testing focuses on people who have symptoms and meet testing criteria below. Following the testing criteria helps healthcare officials understand how the virus is spreading and what public health actions will be helpful.
Private testing is available with a doctor’s order.
Public Health Testing (Free)
- Testing criteria includes having fever, cough, shortness of breath PLUS:
* have had close contact with a confirmed case,
* have traveled to a location with ongoing transmission of COVID-19,
* have risk factors for getting very sick from COVID-19, or
are hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms even if you do not have any risk factors.
-- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
-- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
-- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
-- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
-- Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community.
-- Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Learn what to do if you are sick.
-- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
-- Throw used tissues in the trash.
-- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
The Centers for Disease Control called for an 8-week hiatus on gatherings of 50 people or more as of Sunday, March 15.
"Events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene, and social distancing. When feasible, organizers could modify events to be virtual," according to the guidance.
This recommendation does not apply to the day to day operation of organizations such as schools, institutes of higher learning, or businesses.