Wood County COVID-19 cases pass 100; mask order leads to canceled 4th events


As Wood County cases of COVID-19 neared the 100 mark, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statewide face mask order on Thursday, July 2.

As a result the city of Mineola canceled its planned July 4 fireworks show at the Mineola Civic Center.

“Today’s order by Gov. Abbott left no other alternative for the safety of all citizens,” the city said in a social media post Thursday.

Other surrounding communities continued with their planned events, though around the state many were also canceled.

The event had been planned as a fireworks show only, with the other customary events canceled.

But the governor’s order led city officials to make the cancellation. Also canceled that day were a flag retirement ceremony at the civic center by Mineola Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts and a rally by Equal Legal Justice at Jim Hogg city park in Quitman.

As of Monday, the COVID-19 case count in Wood County stood at 107, with nine new cases since Friday and 25 new cases in a week. There were 40 active cases and have been no deaths since June 10, which remain at five.

There are 43 cases in Winnsboro, 20 in Mineola, 16 in Quitman, 10 in Alba, nine in Hawkins, eight in Yantis and one in Big Sandy. The cases are recorded by ZIP code.

As of Monday the state reports 1,004 residents have been tested, for a positivity rate of just over 10%.

As the mask order hit the news, numerous officials pushed back, saying they would not be enforcing the order, which includes wearing a mask in most public spaces where social distancing is not feasible. The order included a number of exceptions, such as those under age 10 and those with medical conditions.

The order also included the closure of bars, which were shuttered for a second time during the virus pandemic response.

Sheriff Tom Castloo announced his department will not be enforcing the order, which includes a warning on first offense and a fine on second offense.

Abbott’s order also limited gatherings to 10 persons, although local officials could seek exceptions, which occurred in areas that continued on with plans for fireworks.

Also canceled is the Wood County Old Settlers Reunion in Quitman. The celebration had been planned July 31-Aug. 1 to continue on a scaled-back basis, with only two days of activities and no carnival.

The board of directors issued this statement Monday: “This decision comes after much deliberation from the board of directors and community leaders. Public safety is everyone’s foremost concern at this time. With the resurgence of the COVID-19 virus and state government orders prohibiting large gatherings, we feel that it is a responsible decision to make for the citizens of our community.”

The next testing in Wood County will be Friday, July 10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Winnsboro at the train depot, 100 E. Broadway St. It is free to the public and will be walk up service.

Wood County recorded its first case at the end of March.

The count reached 10 on May 2 and surpassed 20, reaching 22, on May 19.

The count rose to 33 on June 2 and just two  days later was at 40.

The 50 mark was surpased on June 9 with 51.

On June 17 there were 62 cases with 70 on June 19.

The 80 mark was reached on June 26 with a total of 89 on July 1.

The latest batch of nine cases that were added on Monday included a travel-related case, only the second such case, with the first case of travel-related illness coming early on.

The remaining cases have all been community spread.

All five deaths have bee recorded in the Winnsboro ZIP code.