Local elected and health officials discussed several issues for Kaufman County residents on Friday morning in a live social media session.
Kaufman County Health Officer
Dr. Ben Brashear, the Kaufman County Health Officer, said the county does not have the capability to conduct widespread testing for the coronavirus. People who are sick should call their primary care provider.
Those who do not have a healthcare provider can contact the Texas Health Department at (817) 265-4500, or call 211, option 6.
Most people can recover from the virus at home.
Brashear urged people to stay home as much as possible, along with washing hands, social distancing of at least six feet, and not touching your face.
“They actually are the most effective way to prevent the spread of the disease,” he said.
For those who do get sick with any cold or flu-like symptoms, he asked that they stay home. Most people can recover at home.
Regarding hospital visits: “Absolutely do no visit the hospital if you have any kind of sickness at all,” he said. Patients admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian in Kaufman can have only one visitor per day.
Brashear said he also supported Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to close nursing homes to all visitors.
He thanks all health care staff for stepping up to treat patients.
“They are putting themselves in harm’s way, literally,” he said.
City of Kaufman
The city of Kaufman has started a database of seniors who are shut in their homes, and local police officers will be conducting welfare checks on them, said Mayor Jeff Jordan.
“Check on your neighbors,” he said.
City Hall is now closed to the public. Residents are urged to pay for utilities and other services online, he added. Those who need to make appointments should call (972) 932-2216 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The city is leaning toward postponing municipal elections, which were scheduled for May, until November, he added.
The Kaufman Chamber of Commerce is acting as the point of contact for local businesses. Any businesses incurring unusual expenses, or laying off employees, is asked to contact the chamber.
Richard Dunn, president of the local Ministerial Alliance, is coordinating efforts by churches to help members of the community, Jordan added.
County Judge Hal Richards said the level of cooperation and participation among county employees, along with other agencies in the area, is “absolutely spectacular.”
The county is also limiting access to facilities and encouraging people to use access services online at kaufmancounty.net
Those coming to county buildings need to have an appointment and will have a healthcare screening to ask if they have any symptoms of illness.
Any ill visitors or employees are being asked to go home, he added.
State of Texas
Rep. Keith Bell said Gov. Abbott’s executive emergency orders this week were the first issued by the state of Texas since 1901. Statewide temporary closures include drivers license offices.
The Texas National Guard has been activated in case they are needed, and Bell said the state might ask to use military hospitals if needed to treat patients.
Regarding childcare centers, Bell said access is limited to the general public.
Across the state, there are 143 confirmed cases of Covid-19, and three deaths, he said.
Kaufman Independent School District
Meal delivery for students starts on Monday, said Superintendent Lori Blaylock.
The Texas Department of Agriculture requires that lunch be delivered to the students, but they can wave at bus drivers through their windows, and meals will be left outside the home, she said.
Families of students who don’t ride a bus who would like to receive meals can email email@example.com.
Also Blaylock said teachers will be contacting parents on Tuesday. The district plans to use social media sites to help with students’ education while schools are closed. Schools are currently closed through April 3.
At the conclusion of the session, Jordan said he hasn’t received one complaint from residents about the restrictions. Instead, he said the city is receiving offers of help.