First COVID-19 case reported in Medina County

This Tuesday, March 17th, Medina County reported the first case of COVID-19 in a county resident. The person is a 57-year-old female who recently returned from travel abroad and immediately self -isolated. About 80 local leaders from around the county also met and held a conference call on Tuesday to discuss the current situation and answer many questions.
County Emergency Manager Keith Lutz stated, “Right now we are also trying to run down answers regarding a related case of another person who was also self-isolating and tested positive.”
The first person diagnosed with COVID-19 is currently isolated in a hospital in Bexar County.

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“As a result of her self-isolation it appears there has been no community exposure,” stated a press release from the county. According to the county, “there has been no exposure to local businesses or local health care facilities.”
Many have asked what community the confirmed case lives in, and the county stated they could not release that information for privacy reasons.
One of many responded to that question by stating, “It really doesn’t matter where she was from. Everyone should be acting as if everyone has it. Wash your hands. Stop running all over the place. Just be careful. It’s really that simple.”
Meeting of local leaders
Medina County Health and Emergency Management hosted an hour Medina County Corona Virus Update Meeting on Tuesday, March 17 at the Medina County Courthouse, some met in person, and others on computers and phones using dial-in webinar options. Approximately 80 people were on the call including Medina County and local officials, hospital, law enforcement, first responders, county health clinic, school districts, long term care, church representatives, key community stakeholders and our media.
“As you are all aware our nation has stepped up our public health measures and it has been unprecedented. We have seen fluid, stock piling, and social distancing become the new buzz words.”
As of March 17 afternoon, there were 64 cases and 1 death in Texas according to DHS website.
“Testing has now become available, so we can expect those numbers to increase weekly and certainly expect those numbers to increase here in our county”, said Mechler. “There is a lag in reporting numbers.”
Mechler stressed the importance of following the CDC guidelines for public safety.
“Our best self defense against the virus is to stop the spread and slow it down. Continue to take cautions and social distancing. Above all we need to be calm and evaluate the situation based on accurate sources and accurate information.”
Go to\coronavirus or or or where you can see these links and updates. They encouraged residents to sign up for the I-Info notification system to get timely updates on Medina County via text message or email. The sign up information is on their website, and you can sign up from many of the other surrounding counties as well.
Wash your hands, keep social distance. Clean your surfaces, door knobs, phones, common work surfaces often, have someone in your office designated to clean every hour or thereabouts so that it gets done.
“We have a lot of people in our county with really good work ethics who usually continue to work despite being sick. This is not the time for that. Go home if you are sick with flu like symptoms if you have a fever, cough, respiratory symptoms or body aches. Please stay home and be safe. No shaking hands. Don’t touch your face. We need to remember why we are doing this. Schools are out and we need to remind our children why they are out and that they should stay home. They are home for a reason”, said Mechler.
CDC has recommended no more than 10 in a gathering.
Schools are looking at way to deliver their lessons both online and paper copies for those who need it. Natalia ISD is even considering using hot spot on buses to get internet to students. Teams are meeting at the various school districts within Medina County to figure out ways of delivering the instruction and materials to the students, some maybe through bus routes or pick up.
The 9-1-1 system is being utilized to try to help keep emergency responders safe by screening calls to not put them in a situation as well.
If you think you have the symptoms you can call the Medina County Health Unit 830-741-6191 or your health care provider so they can get you to the right place for a test if needed.
Keith Lutz, Medina County Emergency Manager said that doctors have the right to test or not, as test come available. Your personal caregiver may or may not have the test. “San Antonio has set up a drive up testing for first responders and are expanding. They hope to open two more in the coming days, but even at those people will need a doctor’s order to be tested and must meet certain criteria. More on that as it becomes available.”
Because this is declared natural disaster, a stock pile of supplies will become available. But in comparison to the huge numbers nationally, we are small in comparison to what’s needed nationwide. In the short term it doesn’t look promising, but we are getting requests from agencies asking us for our needs and are responding to those, ” said Keith Lutz. “To the fire fighters and emergency responders I urge them to use all resources and gear (suits, helmets, etc) that they have. We are trying to do our best at the dispatch level to not send them where they don’t need to be.”
“If people will use common sense and follow the guidelines, and take care of each other and their neighbors, we will all get through this,” Lutz added.
Judge Chris Schuchart added, “Supplies, tests, until they come, there is a shortage. Use common sense. The [first confirmed case] had the forethought to self-isolate. I am grateful she used common sense, so we believe no one was exposed. We hope and pray for the individual and their family”.
He reminded everyone that everything is changing hourly. “I urge that if you know someone who has traveled to ask them to self-isolate.”
Medina Regional Hospital like those statewide are screening visitors and asking people to keep social distance and follow the cdc guidelines. They have not had anyone tested for COVID-19.
Long Term Care facilities are taking precautions and not allowing visitors.
The following info was provided by the county this morning:
There are things everyone can do to help prevent the spread of COVID-19: • 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. • Stay home when you are sick. • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then wash your hands.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Minimizing exposure is especially important for people who are 65 or older or who have an underlying health condition like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or cancer.
People in those groups have a higher risk of developing the severe disease if they do get COVID-19, and the safest thing for them to do during an outbreak will be to stay home as much as possible and minimize close contact with other people.
To get ready, they should talk to their doctor about getting additional prescription medications and have enough household items and groceries on hand to stay home as needed. The public can find up-to-date coronavirus information at
We will continue to post updates to this story on our website and our Facebook. Follow us on Facebook to get all of the latest updates regarding our community in Medina County, as we will post links to those new stories as they come out.
By Kathleen Calame and Kayleen Holder
Publisher & Editor