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Be diligent about wearing a mask and washing your hands as coronavirus cases are on the rise in Cooke County.

Cooke County Emergency Management Coordinator Ray Fletcher said last week that the county was averaging at least 15 new cases per day.

“There have been a few large events where mask use was less than recommended,” Fletcher said of the upward trend.

Some of the large gatherings, he said, were the Lindsay Tractor Pull, Oktoberfest in Muenster, football games and weddings.

Even outdoor events require the use of a mask, Fletcher said, while adding that people need to be sure they also practice social distancing.

Social distancing is keeping six feet away from someone not in your immediate household.

“Distancing and wearing a mask will at least slow the spread,” Fletcher said.

Free drive-up coronavirus testing is available beginning at 9 a.m. today, Tuesday, Oct. 20, at the Cooke County Fair Association barn, 1901 Justice Center Blvd., according to a press release issued by the county Monday afternoon, Oct. 19. Testing concludes at 4 p.m. for the day.

The free oral swab testing will also be available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21, and Thursday, Oct. 22.

Registration will be completed on-site and results will be returned by text message or email in two to five days, according to the release.

Through Friday, Oct. 16, there were 72 active coronavirus cases in Cooke County, according to a tally released by county officials.

There have also been eight reported coronavirus-related fatalities. The last reported death was a woman from Gainesville in her 70s. A total of 578 cases have been recorded, counting active, recovered and fatal cases.

Cathy Lloyd, an administrative assistant with Cooke County Judge Jason Brinkley’s office, said Friday that there were four people hospitalized at North Texas Medical Center, 1900 Hospital Blvd., with the virus and three hospitalized in Denton.

As of press time Monday, there were 8,201,554 reported cases of the coronavirus nationwide and 220,020 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine. In Texas, there were 854,570 reported cases and 17,468 deaths.

COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019, is caused by a coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2. It first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus.

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