Phase two starts as Falls County COVID-19 cases stand still
On Tuesday, May 5, Falls County announced that there were two additional cases of coronavirus, bringing the total to six reported cases. According to the DSHS website, that number still stands today.
“We are still lower than most of the surrounding counties,” said Falls County Judge Jay Elliott in a press release. “But I am strongly encouraging you to continue following the guidelines set by the Texas Department of State Health Services.”
There were 151,220 tests waiting for county assignment within the state of Texas on May 18.
As of May 19, Falls County has administered 128 tests total, all at Falls Community Hospital and Clinic. This is a jump from the 85 recorded as of May 11.
None of the positive cases have been tested in Falls County. Of the six, four have been from the west side of the Brazos river, whie two have been on the east side.
Though the number of reported cases in the county sits at six, it is unknown how many cases have gone untested. On advice from the Falls County Local Health Authority, Dr. Karlan Downing, and other officials, the county planned to stay at a 25 percent occupancy despite having less than the threshold of cases set by Phase One of Gov. Greg Abott’s Report to Open Texas released April 27, but but were forced to stay there once the additional cases were announces.
April 27 saw the return to somewhat normalcy for a number of entertainment and leisure related businesses, such as restaurants, the State Parks System, and places of worship.
On May 8, barber shops, salons, tanning entities, and other cosmetology related businesses were allowed to reopen as well.
Phase two was announced Monday May 18, dictating that certain previously unopened businesses were allowed to reopen in the coming days.
The occupancy levels at which those who were previously open were operating was upped with the start of Phase Two.
“Restaurants may expand their occupancy to 50% beginning May 22,” said a press release from Abbott’s office.
May 18 marked the date that Child Care Centers, Massage and Personal-Care Centers, and Youth Clubs were allowed to reopen.
May 22 will see the opening of a number of Rodeo and Equestrian Events, Bowling Alleys, Bingo Halls, Simulcast Racing, Skating Rinks, Bars, Aquariums and Natural Caverns across the state.
“Bars—including wine tasting rooms, craft breweries, and similar businesses—may open at 25% occupancy but like restaurants, these occupancy limits do not apply to outdoor areas that maintain safe distancing among parties,” the release continued.
Zoos will be allowed to reopen on May 29, followed closely by daytime and overnight Youth Camps, Youth Sports, and certain professional sports without in-person spectators on May 31.
Citizens should continue to follow proper social distancing practices and take extra precautions when going out in public to prevent a resurgence of the virus in the area.
Refer to coronavirus.gov for more information on prevention of COVID-19 or to https://gov.texas.gov/organization/opentexas for more information about the process of reopening Texas and guidelines for both business owners and consumers.