JEFFERSON — Marion County was granted a mask exemption, on Wednesday, after 30 consecutive days of having less than 20 active COVID-19 cases.

“I filed an exemption from Governor Greg Abbott’s GA-29 executive order on face masks,” County Judge Leward LaFleur reported. “I’m happy to report that it was granted.”

The county joins 54 other counties that have been granted exemptions.

“The Texas Division of Emergency Management states that once your county is at 20 or less active cases for a consecutive number of days, which is 30, then you can reapply for the mask exemption,” the county judge said Thursday.

LaFleur said Marion County marked its 30th consecutive day of less than 20 active cases on Wednesday. As soon as he arrived to his office Wednesday morning, he filed for the exemption.

“That exemption applies countywide with the exception of the school district,” the county judge explained. “The school (district) still has to abide by what TEA (Texas Education Agency) imposes on them.

“This,” he said of the face mask exemption, “is basically for businesses, and (going) out in the public.”

Although the exemption from the face covering requirement has been granted, Judge LaFleur asks residents to continue to exercise safety measures to help reduce the spread of the virus.

“I encourage everyone, if you’re in a restaurant to double check and make sure that you’re following all the guidelines set forth by the governor’s order,” the county judge said. “Please continue to observe social distancing and other safety protocols.”

“Please keep the prayers coming,” he added. “We just need to keep everyone in our prayers and hopefully in the next few months we can get back to our normal lives.”

LaFleur noted on Thursday that of the cumulative total of 147 positive COVID-19 cases for the county, 12 have been fatalities, 128 have been recoveries and seven are considered active cases.

In Harrison County, Judge Chad Sims reported two new COVID-19 cases on Thursday. Sims noted that 133 free walk-up tests were given at Marshall Convention Center on Wednesday. The opportunity was provided by the Texas Division of Emergency Management.

“We appreciate the state for making that available to us,” Judge Sims said.

Sims noted that of the cumulative total of 835 positive cases for the county, 35 have been fatalities, 762 have been recoveries and 38 are considered active cases.

STATEWIDE CASES

According to the latest statistics on the Department of State Health Services database, as of 5 p.m., Thursday, 251 of the state’s 254 counties were reporting cases.

Approximately 5,405,257 tests had been administered across the state. A total of 649,809 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed. Of those, a total of 13,853 have resulted in death and 564,114 have recovered, for a total of 71,842 active cases.