COVID-19 UPDATE FOR WALLER COUNTY
Here's the latest in relation to Waller County and the COVID-19 virus. First, if you have not heard, Governor Abbott issued an Emergency Declaration for Texas just a few hours ago followed by a national emergency declaration by President Trump a few minutes ago. Governor Abbott's Declaration is attached to this post.
Everyone needs to understand - these are mechanisms that are used to access resources. Now, the federal government can start sending resources and supplies to the states, which can then be distributed to local authorities. These declarations are not done to cause alarm.
And on that note, first and foremost - I want to emphasize - there is no need for panic. There is no need to hoard supplies or food. There more than likely will be instances where people may have to self-quarantine for up to 14 days. Most folks have what they need to get by for that time period... Everyone needs to just remain calm and we will methodically get through all of this. Basic needs will be met. Government will continue to operate. We will have to make adjustments, but we can adapt. Technology will help immensely.
The most important thing to do right is reduce contact with others. No hand shaking. Keep a reasonable distance. Wash your hands regularly. Sanitize. If you feel under the weather, DO NOT GO OUT. DON'T GO TO WORK. Stay home and rest. If you have symptoms for the Virus, contact your doctor and/or physician.
By virtue of Governor Abbott's Declaration, the State of Texas' capacity to test specimens will increase dramatically, from hundreds of test per day to thousands of tests per day.
Here's the current status in Waller County: At this time we have no confirmed cases. I'm also not aware of any possible cases. However, we have several neighboring counties that do. Fort Bend County - 6 confirmed cases. Harris County - 9 confirmed cases. Montgomery County - 3 confirmed cases. All of those counties and the city of Houston have issued Declarations of Emergency.
Right now, I have not issued an Emergency Declaration for Waller County. That could change in the coming days, but if I do so, it will be when it is appropriate and it will be done under the guidance of our Local Health Authority, which is the Regional Director for the Department of State Health Services, Dr. Carlos Plasencia. As such, I have not yet issued any orders restricting gatherings, but I would strongly suggest that any public or private event that involves a gathering in excess of 250 people over the coming weeks be strongly reconsidered given the current state of events. If I do issue a Declaration, then I may issue orders restricting public events, but I have not done so at this point and time.
Further, I will be meeting on Monday with all of our Judges in Waller County and the DSHS to formulate an action plan going forward for our Courts. We have received guidance from the Texas Office of Court Administration that all jury trials and large dockets should be cancelled until at least April 1, 2020. After we meet on Monday, we will advise everyone on that plan of action.
In the meantime, we are in constant contact with TDEM, State Officials, the Texas Department of State Health Services, and I'm in touch with other local officials near Waller County and statewide.. We are in communication with all of our municipalities and they are prepared as well.
Waller County is prepared and ready. No different than yesterday and the same as we will be tomorrow. Being a rural county, we certainly have some advantages when it comes to this virus.... and we are accustomed to being self-reliant when it comes to emergencies. That won't change.
For now, please try to reduce your contact with others so we can slow the spread of this virus. That's the best thing to do. And stay informed...
I hope everyone has a good weekend.