Wichita County risk assessment helps businesses navigate COVID-19

Businesses access COVID-19 risks

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, more businesses directly impacted are temporarily closing their doors. The latest is El Mejicano in Wichita Falls.

The Wichita Falls - Wichita County Public Health District risk assessment is done with each person that tests positive for the coronavirus.

Tracing is done by working backwards and it starts two days before symptoms.

The health department looks at where they got it, where they’ve been, who they have been in contact with and if they worked while sick. From there, employers and direct contacts are told.

Right now, health officials are crediting Wichita County businesses for being proactive and doing whatever is necessary.

“I haven’t had a single business that we’re working with say [they] don’t want to do the right thing and follow what we need to do to protect our staff and our customers,” Amy Fagan, Assistant Health Director, Wichita Falls - Wichita County Public Health District. “I think that’s really important in some of these closures. Some businesses chose to close right away without even doing a risk assessment first because they felt like it was the right thing to do. We’re just here to help support and guide them through the process and make sure that we are as transparent as we can be.”

Fagan is currently working with about 60 different businesses in the county.

“I was advised to reach out to the staff, let them know, tell them what’s going on and then, typically, employers go through and they do an assessment or risk assessment,” Fagan said. “We go through and we kind of talk about the first level for circle, if you will. Those employers are responsible for identifying the first circle, which is those who came in direct contact with the case during the time frame that we identified and then that first circle has to be notified.”

Those employees should quarantine for 14 days but employers are not required to tell everyone employee.

Fagan also reminds us that we have community spread and we have to assume that we have been around it and to protect ourselves even as customers. Businesses are not required to inform consumers though many choose to do so.

For any additional questions, the Health District Hotline is (940) 761-7909. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For questions related to COVID-19, email covidquestions@wichitafallstx.gov.

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