JEFFERSON — The Marion County Commissioners Court convened in a special-called meeting on Monday to renew the county’s local state of disaster declaration, due to the global COVID-19 outbreak.
The declaration was initially issued last Thursday, and ordered to continue for no more than seven days unless continued or renewed by the Marion County Commissioners Court.
“The court renewed it,” Marion County Judge Leward LaFleur said Monday.
He said the disaster is in place indefinitely due to the uncertainty of COVID-19.
“Declaring the disaster activates the Marion County Emergency Plan. It also opens up some funding from federal and state resources to help us get ahead of this silent threat, when and wherever it hits in Marion County,” the county judge said.
LaFleur said there’s been a lot of national and regional information shared, regarding the pandemic. Thus, because he’s received calls, asking if the virus had hit the county seat, Jefferson, LaFleur wanted to assure residents that the county has not had any confirmed cases.
“I’ve had a few phone calls, text messages, asking me if we did. A lot of people or folks are getting Jefferson, County (in Kentucky) and Jefferson, Texas mixed up,” he said. “There are no cases of COVID-19 in Marion County that are confirmed”.
Reflecting on statewide statistics, provided by the Texas Department of State Health Services, LaFleur noted that the state has rapidly increased testing and less than 10 percent of the tests have yielded positive.
“Out of 254 counties in the state of Texas, 200 counties do not have confirmed cases of the coronavirus,” he pointed out in a Facebook post on Sunday.
“The only way to keep that is to adhere to CDC (Centers for Disease Control) guidelines and recommendations,” said LaFleur. “If you have no reason to be out and about please stay at home, practice social distancing six-feet radius around you — wash your hands and sanitize often.”
And while in isolation at home, LaFleur urged residents to be safe to avoid injuries that may need medical attention.
“A lot of people are at home catching up with their yard work, on a tractor, cutting grass,” he said, for example. “It’s very important that you try to be as safe as possible during this time so that we cannot clog our healthcare system with accidents.
“Slow down on the roads; pay attention,” he added. “We don’t want doctors and nurses and healthcare workers to have to deal with anything more than what they’re dealing with now.”
When it comes to the food supply, he said the town’s major grocery chain, Brookshire’s, has done a great job restocking groceries, but shoppers should make sure they only get what they need.
“Remember we’ve got a lot of folks that live in Marion County,” he said.
LaFleur asked all to pray for the health-care workers, doctors, medical staff, first responders and the most vulnerable – the elderly and shut-in – during this time of uncertainty.
“Call them, e-mail them, just check on them,” he said.
The county judge said he’s available daily to provide information. And while the county offices are closed to the public, county officials are still there working.
Thus, “if you need something, please call and make an appointment with the department in which you seek to do business,” said LaFleur.