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Posted on: March 23, 2020

COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) UPDATE FROM JOINT OPERATIONS CENTER 3-20-20 3:00 PM

A press conference was held and recorded. The video can be accessed here.

Note: This is not a transcript of the conference, but a partial collection of statements made. 

Bowie County Judge Bobby Howell: “I’m Bobby Howell, Bowie County Judge. Today we are dealing with an increase of our numbers of confirmed cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). As of this afternoon we still have only one confirmed cases. That’s due to the how you all have heeded the instructions by the Governor and local authorities. The only way to stop this virus is to stay at home, keep your distance, and practice good handwashing and disinfecting.

As a reminder, tonight at midnight the Governor’s Executive orders will go into place shutting down the dining rooms of all bars and restaurants, closing gyms, and prohibiting gatherings of ten or more. Please take this seriously, and follow his orders to we can protect the health of our community.

I want to address a rumor we’ve heard today that the National Guard is planning to enact martial law and shut down the state borders and grocery stores. This is NOT true. The National Guard has a medical team responding to this crisis, but they are not shutting down stores, or keeping people in their homes. It’s up to you to make your own decisions about when and how you venture outside your homes. We hope that you’ll keep patronizing local businesses and shopping with our locally owned stores, but it is important to avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 and important to keep our social distance.

Thank you for cooperating during this time. I know it’s frustrating to change the way you go about your daily lives, but it’s important that we all do our part to stop this virus.”

Cass County Judge Becky Wilbanks: “I’m Becky Wilbanks, Cass County Judge, and I want to thank Judge Howell and Judge Harrison for inviting our county to be a part of this EOC.

As you can see, today the operations of this Emergency Operations Center has been expanded to include my county, and we’ll use this Joint Operations Center to disseminate messages to our public with one voice. I am grateful that this EOC is operating so well, and staying on top of the most up-to-date information available for our residents.

Cass County currently has one confirmed case of COVID-19, and this case was community-spread, not travel related.

To that end, I’d like to ask the residents of Cass County and the great Texarkana area to be patient and comply with the orders as directed by Governor Abbott and local officials. We will get information to you as timely as possible, but we need you to heed the advice of those asking you to stay home and practice healthy behaviors. Together we can beat this virus, but we need to think collectively and responsibly. “  

Miller County Judge Cathy Harrison: “I want to start by thanking the citizens of Miller County for abiding by all the state of local mandates that have been put in place. Although our restaurants are closed for dining in, you can still get orders to go and support our local businesses. I also wanted to thank you and ask you for your continued support in checking on our elderly citizens.

The Miller County Office of Emergency Management, in coordination with the local police and sheriff’s departments are currently looking into the past contacts of those that may have been in contact with an exposed person, to help minimize the risk of further exposure.

We are using our local resources and have requested assistance from the state, but we are also asking our local businesses and vendors if they have any supplies that our first responders can use, to include personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning equipment, and water, to please get in contact with the Miller County OEM. I have attached an email with the information that I received from Senator Tom Cotton’s Office regarding COVID-19: Guidance for Small Business loans.”

Mayor Bob Bruggeman: “I’m Bob Bruggeman, Mayor of Texarkana, Texas. As we continue to deal with this local and national health threat, I want to assure you that we are all working together regionally to respond to the needs of our communities.  I have never seen coordination and collaboration among our two cities and counties like never before, and that means the local residents of the Texarkana region have a fortified team responding to this with even more capacity than we all would alone. I’m proud of this local operation and also proud of how the residents of Texarkana are responding.

Please keep adhering to the Governor’s restrictions and CDC guidelines for combatting this disease. Let’s all pray for our community’s health, and pray for our families and our neighbors and make sure we’re acting responsibly in the days to come. The quicker we all comply, the quicker this will be behind us."

Dr. Matt Young: "I want to reiterate what you’ve already heard here today, that we are all working together as a community and the most important thing you can do to help is to stay calm, educated, alert, vigilant. 

It’s important to stay patient, especially as we change the way we interact with each other on a daily basis. Tonight at midnight, bars and restaurants’ dining rooms and gyms will close, we need to maintain our social distance and avoid groups of more than 10 citizens. 

Keep washing your hands, and avoiding gatherings. Social distancing of 6 feet is recommended. 

I understand that we are concerned about resources right now, including personal protective equipment and testing capabilities. We are working through those issues through governmental agencies and want to assure you we’re doing everything we can and using every resource to attack this virus."


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