Coronavirus photo

The novel coronavirus COVID-19 has reached Walker County.

Officials with the Walker County Office of Emergency Management confirmed on Sunday that a local resident in his early 20s has tested positive for the disease. Officials are doing a backtrack of the patients whereabouts and travel and contact history which usually goes back about two weeks, according to county OEM officials.

The source of the infection is unknown at this time, with the patient being tested outside of Walker County.

According to officials, the patient is experiencing mild symptoms and has been isolated at home.

Figures from Johns Hopkins University & Medicine, which measures both confirmed and presumptive positive cases, show that there are currently 618 cases of COVID-19 cases in Texas. Six deaths have also been reported from the disease.

To help fight the spread of COVID-19, officials urge the public to do the following:

• adhere to the executive order issued by Governor Greg Abbott.

• 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 severe disease if they do get COVID-19, and the safest thing for them 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.

Find the latest local information on the coronavirus at www.itemonline.com/coronavirus.