updated 7:46 PM UTC, Sep 23, 2020

Abbott extends disaster declaration

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By Chris Edwards
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The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases stands at four in Tyler County, and nationally, the protocols adopted to help slow the spread of the virus appear to be working in certain areas.

Last week, on Tuesday, County Judge Jacques Blanchette announced that two more county residents, of Ivanhoe, had tested positive for the virus.

The two patients, according to Blanchette, are a 58-year-old man and 46-year-old woman who are both currently at home under isolation.

At press time, there have been 63 county residents tested with no new positives, according to emergency management. On Sunday, Governor Greg Abbott extended the statewide disaster declaration originally issued on March 13.

Disaster declarations are typically established for 30-day periods, so the extended version of the declaration will conceivably last until May 13. The extended declaration does not extend the stay-at-home order, which is set to expire April 30. It does allow the state government to continue using emergency resources to protect its residents.

Abbott said in a news release that he continues to urge all Texans to keep practicing social distancing and abide by the guidelines laid out by the Centers for Disease Control, as well as his executive orders, to slow the virus’s spread.

In a press conference on Monday, Abbott said that reopening the state’s economy will be a slow process, dependent upon data.

The governor also said that an announcement is forthcoming this week on whether schools will remain closed for the remainder of the academic 2019-20 year. They are currently ordered closed until May 4.

The pandemic has also affected upcoming elections across the state and country, as well as campaigns.

Abbott announced on Friday that the runoff election is postponed until July 14 from its original May 26 date.

In a notice issued by Blanchette on Friday, he was notified that the state Attorney General’s office issued guidance allowing golf courses, driving ranges and golf training centers to reopen and operate, as long as the social distancing protocols set forth by the CDC are observed.

As of Easter Sunday, there were 13,484 total cases reported across the state, and 271 deaths attributed to the virus.

In the prior week, the DSHS reported 8,163 confirmed cases and 153 deaths.

The Southeast Texas Regional Emergency Operations Center has a total of 258 confirmed cases in the region, and nine deaths.

The regional call center is open 24-7 for anyone who has experienced symptoms (fever, dry cough, shortness of breath) or if they believe to have been exposed to an infected individual. The number to the call center is 409-550-2536.

Callers will be evaluated for testing. Nationally, the CDC reported 554,849 confirmed cases and 21,942 deaths since Jan. 21, in an update on Monday.

Another data source, the online Worldometer, which tabulates in real time statistics from a variety of agencies and sources, reported 38,015 recovered cases nationwide. Officials at the federal and state level have said that the protocols recommended by the CDC appear to be working.

On his website, Abbott released a statement last week to encourage Texans. He compared the pandemic to past natural disasters and said “just as we overcame those challenges, we will overcome this one. When neighbors help neighbors, our resilience is redoubled.”

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