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Judge Keyes explains mandate status

Sunday, July 19, 2020
Judge Keyes explains mandate status

A surge in COVID-19 cases throughout much of the state was responsible for Gov. Abbott’s July 2 Executive Order requiring all Texans to wear a face-covering over the nose and mouth in public spaces. This mandate was issued for counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases, with few exceptions.

When the order first went into effect, Gaines County filed for an exemption. “ I requested an exemption last Monday (July 6) when we were at 14 active cases; Last Monday evening we had a spike of 6 cases, which took us to 20 active cases, but we were not technically over the line. On (July 7) Tuesday, I tried to retract my application, thinking that if we didn’t have an exemption, we would be able to apply when we were further under 20. But the retraction got there after the waiver was granted. Then on Wednesday, we went over 20 active, and I had to report that to TDEM. Consequently, our exemption was withdrawn by the state. So, the rule is the county that loses their exemption must be under 20 active cases for 30 days to reapply for the exemption,” Gaines County Judge Tom Keyes explained.

“We went down to 16 active cases on 7/13/20. As long as we stay under 20, we can apply for an exemption on 8/12/20. The challenge is to control the spikes. Another large spike from a single source could take us over 20, and make us have to reset the calendar. Hopefully, we will continue to have timely recoveries. As a rule of thumb, if active cases come in a bunch, you can anticipate recoveries coming in a similar manner."

As of press time, noon on Friday, Gaines County has a total of 54 confirmed cases, according to the South Plains Public Health District. Five new cases were confirmed on July 16. Currently, we have 20 active cases, 34 individuals have recovered, and there have been zero deaths due to COVID-19 in Gaines County. Dawson County has had 105 confirmed cases; seven of those were reported on Thursday. Thirty-five of their COVID-19 cases are active, 69 are recovered, and there has been one death.

In Terry County, there have been no deaths from its 60 confirmed cases and there were no new cases added on July 16. Sixteen remain active, and 44 have recovered. Yoakum County has reported a total of 50 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 15 of those are new. Thirteen of Yoakum’s cases are currently active, 37 have recovered, and there have been no deaths in that county.

Andrews County leads the pack with a total of 176 cases; 95 of those are still active. The county has reported two fatalities due to COVID-19 and has had 77 recoveries.

Lynn County reports 55 total cases, zero are new at press time, 13 are active, and 39 are recovered. The coronavirus results in three deaths in Lynn County.

Hard hit by the pandemic, 2,992,102 Texans have been tested for the virus. Of those, 292,656 were confirmed positive, an estimated 133,158 are still active, and 155,937 have recovered. Since March, the pandemic has produced 3,561 fatalities in the state.

Statistics are from the SP-PHD website and the Texas Health and Human COVID-19 dashboard.