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Advice from state leaders on coronavirus: 'Don't panic'

'Our goal is to have them (the public be) prepared, not panicked.'

AUSTIN, Texas — As you hear about the growing number of novel coronavirus cases in Texas, preparation and accurate information are key. That's what the Texas Division of Emergency Management wants us to focus on.

The agency’s main job is to deal with emergencies, coordinating between state, local and federal folks in a situation like floods, or COVID-19.

“Our goal is to have them (the public be) prepared, not panicked,” said Nim Kidd, Texas Division of Emergency Management’s Chief. “Information is fast moving. Sometime before we get done with this interview, there will be something that has changed. What we need to do is to not spin what is misinformation but understand the continuum that we are on and where a message that is delivered today can change in a few moments sometimes.”

It might seem obvious, and yet, Chief Kidd said to use trusted sources for information.

“Instead of listening to the next person on Twitter or Facebook, go back to the authorized jurisdictions having authority, which will be your public health director, your public health authority, who is the physician and your mayor, your county judge,” he said.

Your preparation should include knowing when it's time to get tested and how to make that happen.

“If you're feeling ill, if you're running a fever, if you feel like you might have been in contact with it, and not just because you've seen a case on the news and you think you could have it, but because you've traveled into one of those areas,” Chief Kidd said.

Kidd suggested calling your doctor or an emergency provider before going so they can prepare for you.

“Right now, I believe the test kits are distributed across the ER network and to some of the doctors," he said.

He predicted more tests being available in the coming weeks. Health officials, including the CDC, have said as more people are tested, more COVID-19 cases are likely to be documented.

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