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Jack County reports two new COVID-19 cases

During the Commissioner’s Court meeting Monday, April 13, Jack County Judge Keith Umphress said there are three reported cases of COVID-19 in the county after the first case was confirmed on Wednesday, April 8.

Umphress said the three confirmed cases all come within the same circle of people. All cases were said to be mild and all three were said to be self-quarantined at home and doing fine. 

According to the Judge, the emergency process is said to be working well.

"If everyone would have adhered to the initial stay at home order, we would be doing even better," Umphress said.

Jack County confirmed its first reported case of COVID-19 through its hyper-reach communication system at 4 p.m. Monday, April 8.

“Today, a confirmed case of COVID-19 is now in Jack County. The confirmed case came from a test at the Faith Community Hospital,” Jack County Judge Keith Umphress wrote in a press release. “This person is reported to be sheltering at home and isolating from others as is the standard protocol for the situation.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported there has been a total of 525,704 COVID-19, or coronavirus disease 2019, cases in the United States resulting in 20,486 deaths. The Texas Department of State Health Services reported a total of 13,906 cases and 287 deaths in the state as of 11:45 a.m. Monday, the numbers had only shown one confirmed case in Jack County.

“We are not allowed to provide names or address of confirmed cases including those who have been exposed,” Umphress said when asked about the patient’s travel history, “DSHS is the lead investigation agency for this medical emergency. Governor Abbot’s office has been notified thru TDEM. Local agencies affected have been notified.”

Faith Community Hospital System reported no cases of COVID-19 on April 5 in a press release.

“Although, in direct guidance with the DSHS, we will neither confirm nor deny that we have negative or positive tests performed at our facility,” the press release reads. “Be assured that testing is available if someone presents with symptoms and fulfills the necessary screening and evaluation for testing.”

The release also states FCH is working with Umphress, Cooper and Hefner as well as larger healthcare facilities to discuss future steps.

“We have several contingency plans being discussed with DSHS and these other facilities in the case of a surge of hospitalized patients occurs in our area,” the April 5 press release reads. “Please be assured that our area has a small number of confirmed cases and the majority of these cases continue to be mild in nature.”

Gov. Greg Abbott issued an Executive Order  March 19 which enforced federal social distancing guidelines for COVID-19, including closing schools and instructing Texans to avoid eating or drinking at bars and restaurants. The protocols allow exceptions for essential activities and services based on the Department of Homeland Security’s guidelines on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce. Examples of these essential services include healthcare, grocery stores, banking and financial services, utilities, child care for essential service employees, and government services.

Abbott extended the order on March 31 to run through May 4. Texans are prohibited from visiting nursing home, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities, or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance. Additionally, schools will remain temporarily closed to in-person classroom attendance through the order.

The executive order does not prohibit people from accessing essential services or engaging in essential daily activities, such as going to the grocery store or gas station, providing or obtaining other essential services, (...) or engaging in physical activity like jogging or bicycling, so long as the necessary precautions are maintained to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and to minimize in-person contact with people who are not in the same household. 

The Jack County Commissioners Court approved a Declaration of Local Readiness on March 23.

“This legal action is enabled by Texas Government Code Section 418 and opens the process for assistance from state and federal resources as may be needed along with allowing extraordinary measures to protect the public,” Umphress wrote in his press release. “The declaration is a direct result of the COVID-19, coronavirus.”

The declaration did not enact any further restrictions on county residents. However, the court did take steps to restrict access to the courthouse, annex, county barns and Sheriff’s Office during the meeting.

The city of Jacksboro also declared a local disaster for public health emergency and order during their meeting on March 23. The declaration did not put any further restrictions to the citizens of Jacksboro.

According to the CDC, steps which residents can take to help prevent the spread of the virus including washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer, avoiding contact with their faces, avoiding contact with people who are sick, staying home when sick, covering a cough or sneeze with a tissue and disposing of the tissue in the trash and by cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.