MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas — There’s been frustration in Montgomery County over the lack of widespread free testing. People have had to travel to Houston for that.
But it appears help is on the way.
“I understand their plight. It’s very frustrating, and I'm sorry. I wish we were able to supply more free testing," said Randy Johnson, executive director of the Montgomery County Hospital District.
Johnson said the county started ordering tests on March 16 without much luck. Supplies were on backorder.
But he said the Texas Department of Health Services is trying to help, and the hospital district is working to get tests from other sources which are expected to arrive within the next few days.
"So we're hoping we can begin testing our most at-risk population clusters by the middle of next week," Johnson said.
Johnson points out free testing for those financially qualified has started at the Lone Star Family Health Center in Conroe, and people with insurance are able to be tested at a number of sites in Montgomery County with copays being waived.
The county has also set up a hotline at (936) 523-5040.
“Hopefully, we're turning the corner, and we're going to open up more free testing, maybe later in the game than some people like, but (COVID-19) is going to be with us for a while,” Johnson said.
The symptoms of coronavirus can be similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Some patients also have nausea, body aches, headaches and stomach issues. Losing your sense of taste and/or smell can also be an early warning sign.
Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80 percent of the cases there were mild.
But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk for becoming seriously ill. However, U.S. experts are seeing a significant number of younger people being hospitalized, including some in ICU.
The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.
Human coronaviruses are usually spread through...
- The air by coughing or sneezing
- Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.
Help stop the spread of coronavirus
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Eat and sleep separately from your family members
- Use different utensils and dishes
- Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, not your hand.
- If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
- Follow social distancing
Lower your risk
- 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.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.
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