Here’s a coronavirus update from City Council member Jennifer Staubach Gates, who attended a Coronavirus Town Hall hosted by Representative Colin Allred and led by Dr. Philip Huang, the director of Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) and Dr. Trish Perl, UT Southwestern Chief of the Division of Infectious Disease and Geographic Medicine. Gates, who trained as a nurse and has said she’ll always be a nurse at heart, received this information from DCHHS and shared it with neighbors.
“While there are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Dallas County, we are preparing for any level of response that may be needed… Some of the recommendations from the CDC guidance for community-based organizations include:
  • Update your existing emergency operations plan
  • Identify services that might be limited or temporarily discontinued during an outbreak.
  • Promote the practice of everyday preventive actions, including routine hand washing (per Dr. Perl this can decrease the spread of the virus up to 50%), covering your sneeze or cough with a tissue, and regular environmental cleaning.
  • Provide COVID-19 prevention supplies at your organization, such as soap, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, tissues, trash baskets, and disposable facemasks.
  • Identify space that can be used to separate sick people (if possible)
  • Review your process for planning events, programs, and services. Identify actions to take if you need to temporarily postpone or cancel events, programs, and services.
  • Update your emergency communication plan for distributing timely and accurate information. Identify and address potential language, cultural, and disability barriers associated with communicating COVID-19 information to workers and those you serve.
Additionally, you need to prepare your organization as a business for the effect that a potential COVID-19 outbreak would have on your operations, such as the loss of staff or volunteers due to illness. The CDC has issued interim guidance for businesses and employers, which includes considerations for determining how to respond to a potential COVID-19 outbreak. Some of the key considerations are:
  • Prepare for possible increased numbers of employees or volunteers absences due to illness in employees and their family members, or due to employees needing to stay home to watch their children if schools or after school programs are suspended
  • Cross-train personnel to perform essential functions so that the workplace can operate even if key staff members are absent
  • Be prepared to change your business practices if needed to maintain critical operations (e.g., identify alternative suppliers, prioritize customers, or temporarily suspend some of your operations if needed).
For detailed information regarding the coronavirus, please visit the CDC website.
Dallas County Health and Human Services is the centralized resource for health safety in Dallas County. Please visit their website for more information. The City of Dallas has additional information on their website.
John Hopkins University created this interactive map to track the coronavirus world-wide. Find the desktop version here and the mobile version here.”

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