KARNES COUNTY – The first case of COVID-19 (coronavirus) has been confirmed after Karnes County Judge Wade Hedtke issued a declaration of public heath emergency March 25.

“There are no new reports in the investigation right now,” Karnes County Emergency Management Coordinator and Commissioner Precinct 1 Shelby Dupnik said March 26.

“Nothing has changed as of now. The case is related to international travel.”

The case arose due to international travel and the resident is reported to be recovering, along with taking proactive measures to self-quarantine.

“The state reiterated the importance that there is no community exposure,” Dupnik said.

“They have one team looking where the person worked.”

Karnes County EMS has been prepared for any threat.

“This is what we have been planning for the past few weeks. We will take all of the full precautions we can,” Karnes County EMS Director Dennis Kelley said March 25.

Karnes County is working to identify any close contacts the patient may have had prior to their positive test, so they can be monitored for symptoms and quickly tested, if needed.

“Testing is done by private labs,” Kelley said.

“Testing is based on known exposure to a patient with the coronavirus, or meets the criteria of symptoms. It is no time to panic.”

The disease causes respiratory illness with symptoms such as a cough, fever and in more severe cases, difficulty breathing.

“The state is directly looking at signs and symptoms,” Dupnik said.

“Maintaining good hygiene is key and keeping your social distance between people.”

Coronavirus spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough, or sneeze.

It also spreads when a person touches a surface, or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth.

Karnes County recommends residents to do the following:

1) HANDS: wash your hands for at least 20 seconds

2) ELBOWS: cough into your elbow

3) FACE: avoid touching your face

4) SPACE: keep safe distance (six feet recommended)

5) HOME: stay home if you can

This is a developing story, so please continue monitoring the Karnes Countywide website at mysoutex.com, or on its Facebook page.