FORNEY, Texas — The Forney Police Department and Forney Fire Department issued a statement on their continual monitoring of COVID-19 in wake of the World Health Organization declaring the spread of the disease a pandemic.

In the City of Forney, the Forney police and fire chiefs share the responsibilities of Emergency Management and Coordination, according to a statement issued Wednesday afternoon.

"Our officials have been continuously monitoring the Coronavirus situation and collaborating with our local, regional, statewide, and national partners on preparation and response planning," read the statement.

"Today, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 (the specific strain of Coronavirus currently spreading) a pandemic," continued the statement. "It's important to understand that a pandemic simply refers to the rate at which a disease is spreading - it does not change the severity of the disease or the recommendations associated with preventing further spread of the disease."

The departments suggest area residents follow recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Texas Department of Sate Health Services (DSHS) in practicing safe hygiene and preventing the spread of COVID-19.

According to the latest COVID-19 numbers, provided by Texas DSHS, which are updated daily at 10 a.m., there have been three cases of COVID-19 in Collin County, two cases in Dallas County, one case in Tarrant County, six cases in Fort Bend County, one case in Gregg County, seven cases in Harris County, and one case in Montgomery County.

"Your Public Safety officials continue to monitor the situation and are working hard to ensure that we are prepared for anything that may occur in Forney," read the statement.

According to the DSHS, patients with COVID-19 have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms that can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. At this time, DSHS believes symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure, based on the previous incubation period of MERS coronaviruses.

COVID-19 spreads mainly from person-to-person with those in close contact with one another, within about six feet, via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes and those droplets in the mouths or noses or nearby people and inhaled into the lungs, the DSHS stated basing their information on what is known about similar coronaviruses.

"It may be possible that a person can get COVID‑19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads," states the DSHS.

"People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest)," continued the DSHS. "Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads."

DSHS says investigations remain ongoing as to the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with COVID-19.

More from the Texas Department of State Health Services:

How can I prevent COVID‑19?

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID‑19. The best way to prevent infection is to take precautions to avoid exposure to this virus, which are similar to the precautions you take to avoid the flu. DSHS always recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • 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 throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow the CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask:
  • The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID‑19.
  • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID‑19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

For more information on what you can do at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, see the CDC website:

What do I do if I think I may have COVID‑19?

If you are experiencing fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and you have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID‑19 or have traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID‑19 in the last 14 days, you should contact your healthcare provider. Be sure to call ahead before going to your doctor’s office or emergency department to prevent any potential spread.

For more information on what you can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick, see the CDC website: