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On March 17, 2020, the Texas Department of State Health Services Regions 2/3 reported the first confirmed positive case of COVID-19 in Ellis County. Since then, COVID-19 updates have been reported by DSHS and delivered to our Local Health Authority.

As of today (Tuesday), DSHS has notified the Ellis County Office of Emergency Management of a change in the COVID-19 case reporting structure within DSHS Public Health Regions 2/3.

Due to the increasingly high volume of cases in the region and the transition to a statewide system for contact investigation and contact tracing through the Texas Health Trace (THT) web-based platform, DSHS will no longer be providing the daily COVID-19 case line lists outlining cases within 49 counties across the region. THT will now conduct investigations for COVID cases, rather than DSHS PHR 2/3 epidemiology staff.

DSHS states the THT web-based platform for contact investigation and contact tracing is currently not able to generate county-level reports regarding the number of active cases within each county or municipality, but functionality is continuing to be added.

For residents actively monitoring COVID-19 within Ellis County, the Office of Emergency Management will no longer be able to provide breakdowns of COVID-19 cases by age, gender, and jurisdiction due to this change in case reporting. DSHS recommends using their COVID-19 Texas Data Dashboard (https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/additionaldata/?fbclid=IwAR3qruaJSNpNzWVrR0yCN7hrzltxf4pbEnptJDMnJaSvp6JT9nTLKRb4Uh8), which includes cases over time by county and cumulative tests over time by county for future updates, or their interactive map (https://txdshs.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/ed483ecd702b4298ab01e8b9cafc8b83).

Ellis County will continue to provide additional updates as they are received locally. Please remember COVID-19 still exists within our community. It is imperative that residents continue to take precautionary actions to protect public health and prevent further spread of COVID-19. Residents should wear masks while in public, wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face, and practice physical distancing.

Todd Little

Ellis County Judge & Emergency Management Director

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