KAUFMAN COUNTY, TEXAS — A Kaufman County commissioner has requested an emergency meeting of the commissioner’s court on Monday regarding the lack of information being provided to residents by county Judge Hal Richards in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic and cases confirmed by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
The county last released on Thursday afternoon that there were 24 confirmed cases of COViD-19 in Kaufman county, 8 of those cases they would not release the geographical zip code or city that those cases resided in. This was a change in the way the county had been reporting cases previously.
In a statement released by County Judge Hal Richards on Thursday, he says he has decided he will no longer release all the information provided to him by DSHS.
“Due to the lower population of Kaufman County and smaller towns, providing details could possibly identify a person and violate privacy laws, therefore, the county cannot share the information,” the release said.
It went on further to say that the county would only release confirmed cases Monday through Friday, indicating no new confirmed cases would be released over the Easter holiday weekend.
Kaufman County Pct. 4 Commissioner Ken Cates says he believes that residents have a right to know as much information as possible about the spread of the disease, except for personal information or HIPPA information, as soon as possible.
“I have requested an emergency meeting of the commissioner’s court on Monday to address the new restrictions that the County Judge and the County Health officer announced Thursday, without consultation with the commissioner’s court as a whole,” Commissioner Cates tells inForney.com.
“Geographic spread data is necessary for operational decisions related to employee work assignments, supplemental resource planning and most importantly for citizens and business owners to make informed decisions about where they might shop or travel for essential services,” Cates said.
Judge Richards was unavailable to meet on Friday due to personal travel to West Texas according to county officials but is expected to schedule and post an agenda for the meeting Monday morning. With the current disaster declaration in place, the commissioners can meet with as little as 3 hours’ notice.