County judge issues disaster declaration

Quitman, Mineola mayors author similar designations

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Wood County joined a growing list of Texas counties to declare states of emergency Friday in response to the spread of the virus causing COVID-19.

Wood County Judge Lucy Hebron signed the order, effective for seven days following a special meeting of county commissioners.

They extended the disaster declaration during Tuesday’s regular meeting to line up with the state’s.

Similar actions were taken by Mineola Mayor Kevin White on Friday and Quitman Mayor Randy Dunn on Monday.

The Mineola City Council extended the declaration for the city an additional 30 days on Monday.Quitman will consider doing that Thursday.

Mayor White noted that the declaration essentially will be effective until the governor calls it off. Gov. Greg Abbott’s order runs through April 3 unless extended.

The declarations have several impacts including activation of emergency plans and opening the door to more stringent steps, such as the shelter-in-place order that was issued Sunday by Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. No other area counties had taken that drastic measure as of Monday. Jenkins also placed a limit on purchases of toilet paper.

There were no confirmed cases of the virus reported in Wood County as of Monday. To the south, cases in Smith County had reached 10. One other adjacent county, Upshur, initially reported a case, but it was later removed. That case may have been the same that was reported later for Bowie County.

To the west, Van Zandt County reported a case, though it was in the far south end near the Murchison community.

The county has primarily been impacted by the governor’s declaration that includes closing schools; limiting restaurant service to drive through, curbside or delivery; stopping visitation at jails and prisons; and limiting access to nursing homes and similar facilities. Gyms, massage parlors and bars are also impacted.

It also limits social gatherings to no more than 10 persons.

The declaration also helps local government entities to qualify for any disaster relief funds from the federal government.

Here is the latest info from Wood County.