Frisco officials being ‘proactive,’ taking preventative steps with possibility of coronavirus

As of March 6, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19, the infectious disease caused by the coronavirus, in North Texas. (Rendering courtesy U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
As of March 6, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19, the infectious disease caused by the coronavirus, in North Texas. (Rendering courtesy U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

As of March 6, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19, the infectious disease caused by the coronavirus, in North Texas. (Rendering courtesy U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

While the internationally attended South By Southwest Conference & Festival in Austin has been canceled amid concerns over the coronavirus, Visit Frisco staff said there have been few event cancellations locally.

“We are working closely with city officials and their task force to monitor the COVID-19 situation,” Visit Frisco Executive Director Marla Roe said via email March 6. “We are in contact with our hotel properties and are aware that there have been a few event cancellations. We encourage everyone to follow the updates and best practices provided by the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention].”

Conference USA, which is scheduled to host its college basketball championships March 11-14 at the Ford Center at The Star, released a statement March 6 that the conference office is “implementing actionable measures” to address any potential threat.

“Conference USA will continue to monitor the conditions relative to coronavirus as the situation remains fluid,” according to the statement. “Preparations for the Conference USA Basketball Championships are progressing and include precautionary measures to help provide a safe environment for participants and fans.”

Among those preventative steps are the addition of portable hand sanitizing stations throughout the Ford Center and the elimination of handshakes before and after games.


The city of Frisco also issued a statement March 6 that it is “actively monitoring developments” regarding the coronavirus.

“There are no cases of COVID-19 in Frisco or in North Texas at this time; however, our first responders, hospital providers, and public health professionals have been preparing for several months for COVID-19 and have been proactively taking steps to protect the health and safety of our residents and visitors,” the city’s statement says.

Frisco has formed a coronavirus Task Group that includes top city leadership and subject matter experts in medicine, public health and emergency management.

“The Task Group’s goals are to protect citizens and visitors and provide contingencies and solutions for any impacts the city may experience,” the city statement says.

Frisco Fire Chief and Emergency Management Coordinator Mark Piland told City Council during its March 3 work session that city personnel are being “proactive” about the possibility of the coronavirus reaching North Texas.

“In emergency management, you have to prepare for the worst-case scenario, and then you just back into it when it does not happen,” said Piland, noting city personnel are following CDC directives. “We have an excellent team, a lot of subject-matter expects, so I know we’re in great hands. We'll do the planning to make sure that we're ready and that we're being proactive about this.”

During the council work session, Frisco Medical Director and Public Health Authority Dr. Mark Gamber told council he is keeping local first responders informed of the latest information.

“We really just need to wear as much equipment as we can to protect ourselves,” Gamber said of hospital staff and emergency personnel. “One of the biggest challenges right now is the inability to test and give people a definitive answer.”

Gamber said the CDC recommends those with flu-like symptoms stay at home, unless they have other chronic diseases or conditions.

“There's some value in going to get tested then because you may have a lower threshold to get sicker faster,” Gamber said. “But with our youthful population in Frisco—the majority of folks in Frisco—the recommendation would be if you have a flu-like illness and you're breathing OK, it would be to isolate at home and take medication for the fever.”

Piland said emergency management personnel have been involved in conference calls with the CDC and the state for the last two months.

“We have a daily conference call with the state updating us on the coronavirus in the numbers and the effects,” Piland said. “We have a weekly call with the Centers of Disease Control. We’re also coordinating with local health departments.”

He said staff are also in close contact with emergency management from Frisco ISD.

Frisco ISD is “committed to keeping student and staff safety a priority,” according to a statement released March 6. The district said it is in contact with affected school districts elsewhere to learn how they are “addressing the needs of their community.” The district’s statement also said it is working in partnership with Denton County Public Health and the Collin County Health Department.

“Frisco ISD has been working with our staff and students to reinforce the importance of hand-washing, proper hygiene and manually cleaning of surfaces with wipes and disinfectants as a precaution to maintain healthy classrooms,” the district statement says. “Frisco ISD has trained, registered nurses at each campus with protocols in place to handle communicable illnesses. We encourage families to keep their children at home when they are sick or experiencing fever.”

District personnel said every classroom has hand sanitizer stations available, and the Frisco ISD Custodial Department follows “strict guidelines and uses hospital-grade products to clean and disinfect school buildings daily.”

FISD said its transportation department sanitizes all buses routinely and uses a special team “throughout the district in times of heightened health concerns to further prevent the spread of communicable diseases.”

“We would encourage everyone to register for text message alerts through School Messenger,” according to the district statement. “If families are uncertain as to whether they have opted in, they can participate in this service by sending a text message of ‘Y’ or ‘Yes’ to our District’s code number, 67587. By messaging this number, you will be automatically enrolled in both district and campus alerts.”

More information can be found on the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
By William C. Wadsack
William C. Wadsack is editor of the Frisco edition of Community Impact Newspaper. He previously served as managing editor of several daily and weekly publications in North Texas and his native state of Louisiana before joining Community Impact Newspaper in 2019.


MOST RECENT

The Frisco ISD board of trustees approved its a rate of $1.3102 per $100 property valuation at the Sept. 28 special meeting. (Elizabeth Ucles/Community Impact Newspaper)
Frisco ISD approves lowest tax rate in over 20 years

The decreased tax rate will save the average Frisco ISD taxpayer around $92 this year, according to district officials.

Collin County commissioners update the county subdivision regulations during their Sept. 28 meeting. (Screenshot courtesy Collin County)
Collin County approves updates to subdivision regulations

Collin County commissioners approved updates to the existing county subdivision regulations during their Sept. 28 meeting.

Bavette Grill offers modern American fare, including menu items such as the short rib mac and cheese. (Courtesy Bavette Grill)
Bavette Grill opens in Plano and more DFW news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The salad restaurant chain serves various salads, or “chops,” with toppings and a choice to build your own chop. (Courtesy Chop Stop)
Salad chain Chop Stop now serving various 'chops' in Frisco

Chop Stop also offers burrito-style chops, warm pretzel sticks and soups.

The Emergency Donut Vehicle makes regular visits to local neighborhoods on behalf of Hurts Donut Co. (Courtesy Hurts Donut Co.)
Hurts Donut Co. offers a variety unlike any other in Frisco

While most emergency vehicles prompt people to get out of the way, Hurts Donut Co. has one that has been attracting crowds over the last six months.

Frisco confirmed a 15th mosquito pool had tested positive for West Nile virus. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Frisco to spray for mosquitoes after 15th pool tests positive for West Nile virus

Frisco plans to spray for mosquitoes Sept. 26-27 near the Warren Sports Complex after a 15th local mosquito pool tested positive for West Nile virus.

The store located at The Patios at the Rail will offer a variety of Texas T-shirts, hats and gear for purchase. (Courtesy Tumbleweed TexStyles)
Tumbleweed TexStyles shop coming soon to Frisco and more DFW news

Read the latest Dallas-Fort Worth business and community news.

Gov. Greg Abbott at a press conference
Gov. Greg Abbott to allocate $171M from CARES Act to help renters at risk of eviction

Gov. Greg Abbott will allocate more than $171 million in renters assistance from the federal coronavirus relief package to eligible Texans.

Between Sept. 18-24, Denton County reported 479 new COVID-19 cases, and Collin County reported 711. (Community Impact staff)
Collin, Denton counties reported 1,190 combined new COVID-19 cases in past week

Between Sept. 18-24, Denton County reported 479 new COVID-19 cases, and Collin County reported 711.

Jennifer Skidonenko and Rep. Jared Patterson had the opportunity to discuss their platforms as candidates in the November election at a candidate forum hosted by the Frisco Chamber of Commerce. (Image compilation by Miranda Jaimes/Community Impact Newspaper)
Frisco Chamber hosts candidate forum for state, county races

This year marked an all-virtual format for the event for the first time.

The city of Frisco and GRBK Edgewood LLC entered into a development agreement to revise the layout and amenities for the park space near Eldorado Parkway and Coit Road. (Site plan courtesy city of Frisco)
Development plans for two city parks submitted to Frisco Planning & Zoning Commission

City parks on the east and west ends of Frisco are in the works, according to recently submitted site plans.

Harvest Hall will have seven kitchens in total as well as a bar area. (Courtesy LDWW Group)
Grapevine dining hall to host 6 new restaurants and more DFW news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.