County extends local state of disaster
By Wesley Gardner
The Caldwell County Commissioners Court at an emergency meeting on Tuesday voted to extend to the local state of disaster to April 30.
All provisions of the Stay Home, Stay Safe Order issued last week remain in effect unless they are superseded by action taken by Gov. Greg Abbott.
County Judge Hoppy Haden noted the county now has six confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday morning, adding that county officials are currently only releasing confirmed cased and not presumptive cases.
When tests are confirmed as presumptive positive, they are then sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for confirmation.
“We’re waiting for confirmation because with the tests, many times they may get a presumptive positive and they may turn out to be negative,” said Haden. “We don’t want to give out information that’s not confirmed.”
Haden said the only information about the cases that will be released will be the residents’ age, gender and zip code, noting that’s all the information the county receives from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
The following information was released regarding the first five cases:
• Case 1: 31-year-old female, 78644;
• Case 2: 42-year-old male, 78616;
• Case 3: 42-year-old female, 78648;
• Case 4: 22-year-old male, 78648;
• Case 5: 25-year-old female, 78644;
• Case 6: 20’s age range, Male, zip code is unknown because it’s still under DSHS investigation
The DSHS reported recently that the number of confirmed cases has increased by 300 percent in the last week and is now echoing calls from the CDC to wear facemasks when out in public.
Haden noted that because of the constant flood of new information, recommendations on how to best deal with the spread of the virus are subject to change.
“Day to day, the recommendations change,” said Haden. “I think from a personal perspective, [the recommendations] should be heeded, and people should be doing everything they can to distance themselves.
“I think we all understand that we’re not going to prevent this disease from spreading. The goal is to slow it down, so we don’t overwhelm our hospitals. That’s the goal. Unless every citizen in the county does their part to make that work, it’s going to spread faster.”
Under the Stay Home, Stay Safe order, social gatherings are prohibited completely. All individuals currently living in Caldwell County are ordered to remain and stay in their homes. Residences are allowed to leave their home for essential activities, including shopping for groceries and supplies needed to work from home, picking up take-out orders from restaurants, traveling to educational institutions to pick up materials for distance learning or meals, caring for a family member or pet, picking up prescriptions and exchanging children between guardians.
Residents may also leave their home to exercise in shared or outdoor spaces including parks but must at all times as reasonably possible maintain at least a six-foot distance between themselves and others. All park equipment, however, including work-out equipment and playscapes, are closed for public use.
The order also stipulates that all businesses operating in the county that are not defined as essential will be required to cease all operations at their offices or facilities. Individuals can continue to operate businesses from their homes without regard to homeowner’s association restrictions stating otherwise.
To see a full list of essential businesses, view the order by visiting the county’s home webpage and read Section 5, subsection G.
Failure to comply with this order can result in a $1,000 fee or confinement in jail not to exceed 180 days.