Remain calm.

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This week Kerrville residents have received two pieces of news that might mean that our first official cases of COVID-19 could come soon. On Tuesday, Kerr County Judge Rob Kelly announced that eight individuals were being monitored as possible cases. On Wednesday, the Kerrville Daily Times revealed that some of their staff members are in quarantine after coming into contact with an individual from Houston that has since tested positive for the virus.

The important thing at this moment is for everyone to remain calm. Health officials and elected leaders have told us that it wasn’t a matter of “if” but a matter of “when” our county would see cases of coronavirus. We knew this was coming, and it’s likely to be confirmed here soon. What we do next will define us as a community.

Carry on with the guidance

Our federal, state, and local officials have asked us to abide by the CDC guidance in Kerrville, even with no reported cases of the virus. This week’s news demonstrates WHY it was important to practice social distancing and hand-washing, and demonstrates why it’s important to continue to follow the guidance. This week’s news shows us that it is possible for individuals to be carrying the virus unknowingly and without symptoms. THIS was the reason why social distancing was and is so important.

Stay home if you can

Although Kerrville and Kerr County are not under any orders to “shelter in place” or “lock down,” it’s important to stay home as much as possible, if you can. Restaurants and bars have been closed by state order, schools are operating remotely, but many businesses remain open. However, if you can stay home, you should stay home to prevent the spread of the virus. Staying home is still the best defense for you and your family, but also for everyone else in the community, because if you are at home, you are not unwittingly spreading the virus.

Practice kindness

Kerrville Kindness should be practiced in everything you do — even if that’s just staying home! Be kind at the grocery store, in traffic, and on social media. Understand that many people are experiencing anxiety or are under a great deal of stress. Medical professionals are operating on the front lines and are working extremely hard to keep us safe. You can help the situation by remaining calm and being kind. It doesn’t cost a thing and can make a huge difference in our community.

Keep informed, but unplug often

The news at this time is full of doom and gloom, partisanship, and divisiveness. Although you should tune into local news platforms to understand what’s happening around you, you are not required to be plugged in 24/7. The weather is quite nice. Go into your backyard, get some Vitamin D from the warm sunshine, and put down your mobile device from time to time. We all need to focus on our mental health during this challenging time, and enjoying your family, pets, and sunshine is good medicine. Exercise, eat right, stay hydrated, and unplug from time to time.

Don’t be greedy

Grocery store managers have told us that there are no problems with the supply chain and there are no shortages of supplies and food. Nothing has changed. There is no reason to panic, and no reason to hoard groceries or supplies. When you do that, you take away resources from your neighbors, senior citizens, and health care workers that desperately need the essentials. Buy what you need, but no more. Visit the grocery store on occasion, but not daily. Follow the limits set forth by HEB. Don’t be greedy. Stay calm, and be kind.

Let’s stay together

Kerrville is a growing community, but we still have a small town feel. Let’s keep it that way. If we all stick together, follow the guidance, be smart, be hygienic, and remain calm, we’ll get through this together. Do not be alarmed when the first cases show up in our community. Rely on your faith, spirituality, or humanity — whatever gives you peace. Let’s be an example for the rest of the country as we face this crisis arm-in-arm rather than toe-to-toe.

Written by Aaron Yates