Courthouse, Justice Center close to the public
By Wesley Gardner
The Caldwell County Courthouse and Justice Center have been closed to the public for the remainder of the week after two employees tested positive for COVID-19 at each location.
We had an employee test positive [at the Justice Center] and at the courthouse, and just out of abundance of caution, we decided to go ahead and just have the staff tested and only have a skeleton crew working in those buildings closed to the public for a week until the test comes back,” said County Judge Hoppy Haden.
Haden said the closures mostly wouldn’t affect operations and that residents could still call tax office, district attorney’s office, and county clerk’s office for assistance. The two exceptions, he noted, were that the driver’s license office would be shut down completely and all court hearings will be suspended until next week.
As of Tuesday evening, Caldwell County now 494 positive cases, up from 394 on Friday, resulting in two fatalities, according to county officials.
Statewide, the number of COVID-19 cases pushed beyond 200,000 as of Monday, a mere 17 days after crossing the 100,000 threshold.
For context, it took the state four months to reach 100,000 cases.
The continued surge in cases comes a week after Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statewide mandate requiring residents in most counties to wear masks in businesses and spaces where can’t distance themselves from others.
The seven-day positivity rate is currently 13.5 percent, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Abbott has previously said anything above 10 percent would be cause for concern.
During a televised interview on Monday, Abbott said that even as new coronavirus infections were rising, the state’s deaths were decreasing, though he noted that heading into the Fourth of July weekend, the state had seen its deadliest four-day stretch since the pandemic started, and he warned of things to come.
“My concern is that we may see greater fatalities going forward as we go into the middle part of July,” Abbott said.
As of Tuesday, the state has reported 2,655 fatalities.
Additionally, state health officials reported 8,698 COVID-19 hospitalizations, a record high for the eighth consecutive day.
On Sunday, Austin Mayor Steve Adler told the Austin American-Statesman that the area’s intensive care units could be overrun in the next 10 to 14 days if hospitalizations continue increasing at