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Bell County announces new public health director

As the COVID pandemic continues to evolve with Omicron cases starting to pop up around Central...
As the COVID pandemic continues to evolve with Omicron cases starting to pop up around Central Texas, so does the Bell County Public Health Department and its new future director, Amy Yeager.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Published: Dec. 22, 2021 at 8:17 PM CST
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BELTON, Texas (KWTX) - As the COVID pandemic continues to evolve with Omicron cases starting to pop up around Central Texas, so does the Bell County Public Health Department and its new future director, Amy Yeager.

With Omicron now in Central Texas, Yeager says she’s ready to hit the ground running.

“I’ve been following the numbers in Bell County for the last several weeks and comparing them to what they are here,” she said.

“They’re actually pretty comparable and that’s good to know because now I know what the rhythm’s gonna look like as far as the ups and downs go.”

Yeager currently serves as the director of community health for Madison County in Illinois, just outside of St. Louis. In her 20-plus years working in public health, she’s worked through the COVID pandemic, salmonella outbreaks in food and many other issues concerning her county. She adds this experience will be critical when she starts in February next year and believes that Bell County is handling Omicron and new COVID cases extremely well.

“To be going to a health department that has a solid foundation, has a long history and respect from the community from the COVID response is helpful and takes some stress off my mind,” she said.

“I can help focus on where we are and focus and how we want to expand.”

For now, the big focus for Central Texans is keeping safe from the highly contagious Omicron variant. James Stafford with the Bell County Public Health Department says some members of his family are immunocompromised and believes there are some extra steps to take to keep yourself safe.

“If I’m somewhere indoors and potentially crowded, I still wear a mask even though I’m vaccinated and have a booster,” he said.

“If I was gonna go pickup food today, I would probably go through a drive-thru rather than going in or ordering pick-up rather than sit down.”

Other tips include using hand sanitizer every time you use a gas pump or check out from a store, traveling with a cooler so you’re able to prepare your own food, and getting vaccinated.

While there’s still a few months until she begins work, Yeager says she’s eager to get started.

“I hope everyone is able to have a happy and safe holiday season,” she said.

“Be sure to follow all public health guidelines that are out there because COVID is still here, and we’ll see everyone in February!”

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