Collin County Judge Chris Hill’s COVID-19 response plan sounds simple, yet it confused people who were watching the press conference Tuesday morning on Facebook Live.  

Judge Hill announced a shelter-in-place order, but he would not order nonessential businesses to close. Instead, he is relying on Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Collin County. 

“To protect the financial well-being [of our local economy], it is critical that we keep people at work,” Judge Hill told reporters and Facebook Live viewers.

But the businesses must follow COVID-19 guidelines established by the county and the state. Those guidelines include limiting gatherings to 10 or less people and practicing social distancing (six feet away from one another) and hygienic practices set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You can find a list of those guidelines here

In coordination with other city leaders in Collin County, including McKinney Mayor George Fuller and Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney, as well as health experts, Judge Hill decided to issue what he calls “stay home work safety measures.” 

Here’s a breakdown of those stay home work safety measures:  

Any person who is sick or currently experiencing COVID-19 symptoms must stay home until 14 days have passed when the symptoms first appear unless they are seeking medical treatment. After those symptoms improve, people are also ordered to stay home for at least 72 hours without the use of medicine to make sure they are clear. 

If any person has tested positive for COVID-19, Judge Hill ordered that every person in that household must stay home until they’ve been cleared by a medical professional.

If a person thinks they are at higher risk and may be compromised, they are also ordered to stay home for the remainder of the disaster declaration, which has been extended for another seven days unless commissioners extend it again.  

All persons in Collin County must still shelter-in-place, except for travel-related essential business, which includes grocery shopping or going to a medical professional or jobs that are still open. 

“Persons who lack employment seek it,” Judge Hill said. “…We’re all in this together and [need to] take necessary measures to [contain] the spread of COVID-19.

“Some businesses may not be able to continue,” he added. “As long as they stay in compliance, they can stay open.”

Of course, containing the spread will be difficult when people don’t often develop symptoms for 2-14 days after exposure. Those symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, according to the CDC. Other symptoms COVID-19 patients are reporting include the loss of smell and taste. 

The CDC recommends you seek immediate medical attention if you are experiencing emergency warning signs: trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, and bluish lips or face.

But these aren’t all the symptoms you could experience. So be sure to consult your medical provider if you’re experiencing symptoms that are severe or concerning.  

View the full press conference on the Collin County Government Facebook page.

Christian McPhate

Christian McPhate is the managing editor of Local Profile. He has been working as a journalist for more than a decade. His work has appeared in a number of publications, including the Dallas Morning News,...