As the number of coronavirus cases increases and area businesses continue to take preventative measures, the Grayson County Health Department has posted its priorities and requirements for testing from the health department, for possible coronavirus infections.

Last week, an $8.3 billion funding package was approved by President Donald Trump that will provide money for the development of vaccines, treatments and test for the coronavirus. Money was also allocated for the purchase of vaccines and treatments once they are approved. There billion dollar package will also go towards states and localities and medical supplies.

While the GC Health Department does not yet know how much money it will receive from the state and federal governments to fight the spread of the virus, the county is already working within its means to help.

“The only folks who will be eligible for testing (and only by a doctor’s order) are those who meet the strict Texas DSHS guidance,” a post on the county’s website says.

That guidance from the Department of State Health Services reads that those with fever or signs and symptoms of a lower respiratory illness like a cough or shortness of breath and who have been in close contact with a laboratory confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of the symptom onset will be allowed to get a test. Also those who have a fever, signs of a lower respiratory illness and who have a history of travel from an affected geographical area within 14 days of onset of symptoms or those who have risk factors that put them at higher risk of poor outcomes (older or with serious preexisting health concerns), can be tested.

Additionally, it says those who have fever and signs of lower respiratory illness that are bad enough to require hospitalization will also be tested.

In addition, the Health Department recommends that people do the following to help prevent the spread of the virus:

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds

• 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

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

“State and local health departments are on the frontlines of responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, and we are deeply grateful for their work,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar in a news release. “CDC is distributing this new funding extremely rapidly, as called for by Congress. President Trump, and his entire administration will continue working to ensure state and local jurisdictions have the resources they need to keep Americans safe and healthy.”

Grayson County Health Department Director Amanda Ortez said Wednesday that her office does not yet know how much money it will be allocated to fight the spread of the virus, and they will release that information when they get it from the state.

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