People of Pride and Purpose

City Letter to Citizens 03/18/2020

03/18/2020 - City of Panhandle - City Manager Terry Coffee - Letter to Citizens

Long before the travel bans, cancelled sporting and cultural events, and spring break extensions throughout the country, the City has been proactive and studying educational items and links about the Coronavirus that are making the news every day.  This is something we will continue to do. 

Many of the precautions now being urged have been standard practice at the City for years – having employees stay home when ill, availability of hand sanitizer in our facilities, and thorough cleaning of public areas.  We, like everyone else, have stepped up our efforts with social spacing at gatherings, and aggressive disinfecting of touch points at work stations and such.  We would like everyone to know that there is NO threat to our water system.  This is one of our first priorities that we have, and will protect.

The Director General of the World Health Organization has stated that “all countries can still change the course of this pandemic.” That’s exactly what we will do through action and education.

It all begins with STOPPING the spread of germs.  There is no need for those who are not ill to start wearing a mask, which is ineffective anyway.  Simply avoid people who are sick and stay home if you’re not feeling well.  Follow the advice you were taught as a child – wash your hands thoroughly, cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough, and avoid touching your face. 

Know the SYMPTOMS.  Many of the symptoms mirror those of allergies, colds, i.e. fever, and coughing, but sometimes shortness of breath may also be a signal.

If you feel SICK, stay at home and avoid exposure to those family members that have compromised immune or respiratory systems, young children and the elderly.  Keep yourself hydrated and fed and try using over the counter medications to alleviate the discomfort. Tests will soon be available, but it is unknown what the turnaround might be for the tests.

If at any time you experience problems such as a high fever or shortness of breath without exertion, and feel you should be tested for the virus, call your Doctor and he/she will request the test for you and tell you where you need to go.  Do not call EMS if you have someone that will take you.  If you test positive and have called out our EMS they are quarantined and we now have no ambulance service.  The facility may have a special entrance to bypass the waiting room.

On Friday, March 13th, President Trump and Governor Abbott both declared states of disaster opening up emergency funding.  We will continue to monitor the situation and will issue a disaster declaration when, and if, that becomes necessary.  At this time we do not feel circumstances require the City to cancel any events or close down public areas.  As of Saturday, March 14th, there have only been 50 confirmed cases in Texas.  We are in daily contact with the Governor’s Office as well as state and federal health services, emergency management, and Homeland Security entities.

The City’s web site, Facebook page, and text blasting will be the points of information for the citizens.  We will include updated links and information as they are provided.

Most of us have never lived through a major, national health scare like the 1918 influenza pandemic and polio in the late 1940’s.  But, through facts, not fear, we’ll come through it.