Hempstead County Health Officer Applauds Efforts To Social Distance And Urges Continued Caution

By Staff, 05/5/20 8:56 PM

Hempstead County Health Officer Dr. Dale Goins applauds the efforts of county residents in social distancing and staving off the COVID-19 virus but notes caution is still needed.  “Well certainly we realize we’re not through this pandemic yet.  We’re kind of in the middle of it,” said Dr. Goins.  He continued, “I also think what they’ve talked about is a gradual increase in activities in our community, getting some people back to work, opening up some stores, and other activities that are fairly low risk.  I think we’re taking it at a gradual step so we don’t rush out and expose a lot of people all of the sudden.  But I think everyone has to realize the virus is still here and we still have to take certain precautions.”

Dr. Goins said the initial infections were in larger cities such as Little Rock and Hot Springs.  “Gradually it is spreading out in the state,” says Dr. Goins.  “We will see some more increases, I expect in the next week we will have several more cases show up,” he said.  Dr. Goins said this reminds us we have to continue to be careful and avoid large crowds of people and large gatherings.  He noted “I am excited we are going to allow some people to go back to churches but even there we must take precautions.  The state is encouraging you to use your masks while you’re close to other people, limiting social gathers to outside, and not having a lot of contact.  So they are allowing us to get back to some normal lifestyle with precautions.”

He stressed that we can expect more cases and encourages everyone to be careful.  Dr. Goins noted “Everyone has to be responsible for themselves.  If you’re positive or even suspect you’re positive, if you’re asked to quarantine, you need to limit your activities to protect other people”.

When it comes to wearing masks, Dr. Goins says if two people meet and are both wearing masks, the amount of “spittle” …goes down.  It’s not an absolute protection but to wear an N95 mask would be very difficult for people most of the time and we need to reserve those for the high risk people in the medical field”.

In summing up, Dr. Goins says “our state has done very, very well.  I think we’ve done some very moderate restrictions on people, we have had to be as severe as some states.  I think we’ve done a good job and I think we’ll continue to do a good job.”.  Dr. Goins reminds residents the state health department is actively involved in monitoring our county and they do have an investigation team that will contact any potential infected person.  He said they do “contact tracing…so you may get a phone call from the health department if you’ve been around someone who has possibly been infected.  This is how they’re keeping track of people and reducing the spread.  If you get that phone call, they may ask you to be more cautious, may even recommend that you be in quarantine for a period of time.  This is all for the good of the community and the health department is actively doing their job”.