declaration

KAUFMAN COUNTY, Texas — On Wednesday morning, Kaufman County issued a Declaration of Local Disaster for Public Health Emergency in response to COVID-19.

At its issuance, there were no local restrictions associated with the declaration however, it will allow the county and local governments to begin tracking any emergency-related activities, access to supplies and equipment, and potential reimbursement for those related activities and/or resources, Kaufman County Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Steve Howie told inForney.com.

Howie, during a 2:30 p.m. phone call on Wednesday with inForney.com, confirmed there were zero confirmed or reported cases of COVID-19 in Kaufman County.

This morning's declaration was issued for a period of not more than seven days, unless extended by an order of the Kaufman County Commissioners' Court.

Also, as of this morning's declaration, no restrictions on businesses or the general public were issued for Kaufman County.

Local governments will still have the power to issue their own declarations and restrictions, if determined by their governing bodies.

Several major venues in Kaufman County have closed their doors, including Film Alley in Terrell, nursing homes are restricting visitors, and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Kaufman has added restrictive guidelines for patient visitors. In-person visitation at the Kaufman County Jail has also been canceled but inmates will now be allowed additional, free phone calls per week.

School districts across the county have extended closures following their Spring Brings and announced, in many cases, remote learning for students. Latest information from Kaufman County-area school districts, click here.

Governor Greg Abbott, during a Wednesday press conference and in response to a reporter's question about shutting down restaurants and bars statewide, said an announcement is expected Thursday on any potential statewide action.

Several counties in the Dallas-, Houston-, and Austin-metro areas have already taken some action into their own hands — barring in-house patrons at restaurants and bars.

Several state governors have already issued temporary statewide restrictions on dine-in customers at restaurants and bars and are allowing only for delivery, drive-thru, or take-out.

Since last Friday, when Abbott issued the statewide declaration, he says the number of Texas cases and counties impacted have more than doubled — adding that as the number of testing kits became available, the number of confirmed cases would likely rise significantly.