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Bowie Co. Public Health Authority: Texarkana area lacks testing capabilities, PPEs

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TEXARKANA, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – The number of positive cases in Bowie and Cass counties remains at one each, but health and emergency management officials in the Texarkana area are expressing concern about the lack of testing availability, personal protection equipment, and the fact that the three people hospitalized locally are all under the age of 60.

“There is an overall lack of testing capabilities and a delay in results in the greater Texarkana region,” Bowie County Public Health Authority Dr. Matt Young said in a joint operations briefing Tuesday afternoon.

Dr. Young said that the original case in Bowie County was travel-related, but the case in Cass County came from personal contact with the Bowie County case.

“This likely means that there are more cases in our area. But tests are extremely limited, and not every patient with symptoms can be tested. We would like to also remind everyone that Texarkana is the medical and retail hub for a much larger region. Our hospitals will likely treat patients from several counties and states”

Youndg said under the direction of state and federal health authorities, patients should be counted in their county or state of origin.

“But even if the cases did not originate in our region, we are aware of the cases and have assisted in their investigation. Of the three known local cases that have required hospitalizations, two have required ventilatory support during their hospitalization.

The demographics reports reveal that these hospitalizations are all under 60 years of age and have very mild if any pre-existing health conditions. This is concerning. The number of cases are climbing in our region. However, not all cases are being tested or resulted. Do not be misled. We’re in the midst of a pandemic. We still need to heed the warnings from local, state, and national leaders. People should not get a false sense of security. This is still very much a public health crisis. We are working with our local hospitals and health care providers to maintain their level of readiness. Local health care providers are following the CDC and health department guidelines, along with physician recommendations when requesting a test.”

Young said if someone being treated does not meet guidelines for testing, they may be sent home to self-quarantine for a suggested amount of time, which he said is important to help minimize unintended exposure.

“The joint operations center has asked for more supplies from our state and federal government, but currently, they are not readily available. We are already limited on our personal protective equipment, and we never had access to the mass quantities of COVIDC-19 testing everyone has heard about on national TV.”

“Hopefully, with the governor’s executive order, we will have greater access to these materials. As beautiful spring weather arrives, please remember this is not our usual springtime in Texarkana. This is not spring break, nor a vacation. We need the public’s help to deal with this crisis.

Clean and wash your hands. Keep a social distance. Avid gatherings of ten or more. This is the only way to help contain and decrease the spread of this virus. Follow the CDC guidelines. Please stay at home or semi-alone. Only you can prevent COVID-19.”

For more information about the governor’s orders, citizens can visit www.coronatxk.org.

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Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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