JEFFERSON — Marion County is seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases, having been notified Monday morning of 18 additional cases.

The Department of State Health Services also informed the county of two other new cases on Sunday, and one new recovery.

“Our total accumulative cases are now at 58 with one fatality, 25 recoveries, and 32 active cases,” County Judge Leward LaFleur said Monday.

Because the county has now exceeded 20 or more active cases, it will have to comply with Gov. Greg Abbott’s mandatory mask order, which was issued July 2.

Because it previously had fewer than 20 active cases, the county had been exempt from Abbott’s executive order No. GA-29, relating to the use of face coverings during the COVID-19 disaster.

“As of July 13, 2020, Marion County is no longer exempt from GA-29 due to the number of active cases in Marion County reported by the Texas Department of State Health Services, as of 4 p.m. today (Monday),” The Texas Division of Emergency Management informed Judge LaFleur Monday.

Judge LaFleur asked all to continue to keep those impacted by the virus uplifted in prayer.

“Please continue to pray for those affected by this virus,” he said.

For clarity, the county judge informed over the weekend through his Marion County Judge Facebook page that the numbers he reports are the ones that are given to him directly from the DSHS.

“I do not know names or place of employment; I also do not know if they are in the nursing home,” LaFleur stated, sharing that information is not given to him at the time of reporting.

LaFleur said he does know that Magnolia Place Skilled Nursing & Rehab Center has cases, but he won’t know the exact number until that information is released to him.

“I try very hard to give information as it is given to me,” LaFleur indicated. “The DSHS website has had not so accurate info on it numerous times before, so I only give information that I get directly from either the Marion County Emergency Management Coordinator Sheriff David Capps or our DSHS Representative.”

Regarding the nursing home numbers, the county judge noted that Magnolia’s administrators have been in close contact with DSHS, the county’s emergency management coordinator as well as the county judge’s office, keeping them abreast on testing.

LaFleur said he personally drove five hours on Thursday to get the nursing home the necessary personal protection equipment that they needed. He said it is his understanding that the family of any resident who has tested positive has been contacted directly.

“They have, to my understanding, just completed testing of the residence and staff; they have not yet received all results and should get them first of this week,” LaFleur commented. “They have done a great job at keeping the residence and staff safe and secure from what I know.”

“I do not have all the information from the nursing home so it has not been reported by me,” he reiterated. ‘We just need to pray for the residence and staff!”

Calls from the News Messenger to Magnolia Nursing Home’s administrators and inquiries to their parent company have not been returned yet.

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Robin Y. Richardson is an award winning print journalist, serving as the county government and courts reporter. She earned her journalism degree from TSU and master's from LSUS. She is the proud mother of one daughter.