There have been no official reports of the coronavirus in Nacogdoches County but that does not mean the global pandemic isn’t already making a huge impact in our community.

SFA will hold classes online until at least April 6. Nacogdoches and Martinsville ISDs are extending spring break, and the Nacogdoches Pro Rodeo is canceled.

There has been a huge amount of misinformation about the virus, and what information is known changes on a regular basis.

Around the globe consumers have made a run on essential items like toilet paper and bottled water. Stockpiling such items would make more sense if we were facing a pandemic of dysentery rather than an upper respiratory infection.

We encourage members of our community to be prepared and take precautions to avoid the virus, there is no need for panic or stockpiling.

Life can go on as usual, medical experts advise, but take extra caution.

Practice good hygiene by covering coughs. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

And we mean thoroughly like you’re about to perform brain surgery on a patient, not like you’re a 6-year-old whose mother just admonished him for playing in a dirt pile.

Frequently clean and disinfect surfaces with household cleaning spray or wipe.

School officials are going to great lengths to disinfect campuses and buses before class starts again.

Now might be a good time to start your spring cleaning regimen and keep it up until the virus’ spread has halted.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask. Yet, on Friday, we saw at least half a dozen people sporting such masks at gas stations and grocery stores. If you find yourself sick enough to require a face mask, don’t go out in public.

Much of the misinformation we’ve seen recently has come from social media, where no one takes the time to fact check or vet information. Be very cautious of anything you see on social media and be careful what you share. Check the original source of the information and be sure it is from a reliable source.

The CDC website, cdc.gov, is the most reliable source of information on the virus. On Friday, President Donald Trump announced the CDC would also begin using coronavirus.gov.

The Sentinel’s goal is to provide trusted, credible and relevant information to keep readers informed about the virus. To help stop the spread of the virus and bad information about it, The Daily Sentinel has decided to publish all of our coronavirus coverage free online.

You can all be comfortable knowing that the county, city, university and school leaders are monitoring a fluid situation and making informed choices.

“This is not a knee-jerk reaction. It’s not an action based on fear. It is an action based on facts and recommendations from experts,” County Judge Greg Sowell said of canceling the pro rodeo. “As much as as it saddens us to cancel the rodeo, we believe it to be in the best interests of the public.”

As we weather the storm that is coronavirus, don’t fall prey to knee-jerk reactions and fear. Be cautious but do not panic.

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