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KAUFMAN COUNTY, Texas — UPDATE [Mar. 24] — The Kaufman County Commissioners' Court unanimously approved the extension of an emergency declaration for 30 days, following an hours-long emergency-called meeting Tuesday.

With the extension of the emergency declaration, Kaufman County Judge Hal Richards issued a shelter-in-place order for all Kaufman County residents. The order will begin March 25, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. and will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. on April 8, 2020.

The order includes every resident of Kaufman County, including those residing within the jurisdictional boundaries of a city within the county — whether or not those cities have issued their own shelter-in-place orders. Cities may issue their own shelter-in-place orders but they must, at minimum, comply with the order issued by the county.

The shelter-in-place order is similar to those issued in recent days by neighboring governmental bodies in that residents must shelter in place at their residence and can leave for essential activities or to work at a business deemed an essential business.

"To wait until we have a confirmed positive in the county before taking action would be reckless in my opinion," Kaufman County Health Officer Dr. Ben Brashear stated during a portion of this morning's meeting.

The order also allows for non-essential businesses to request a waiver of operation — similar to an order issued in the City of Forney yesterday.

Essential businesses under the order are generally described as essential healthcare operations, essential governmental functions, essential critical infrastructure, essential retail, providers of basic necessities to economically disadvantaged populations, essential services to maintain essential operations of s residence or other essential businesses, news media, and childcare services.

Residents leaving their homes for essential activities — such as, but not limited to, going to the grocery store, receiving essential medical care, working at an essential business, and outdoor exercise — should use social distancing guidelines.

As of last check on Tuesday morning, there were no confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Kaufman County. The State of Texas reported 410 positive COVID-19 cases statewide and nine COVID-19 related deaths.

Shelter in Place Order - Kaufman County by inForney.com on Scribd

PRESS RELEASE FROM KAUFMAN COUNTY JUDGE HAL RICHARDS:

This is a time for us to pause and be grateful for this great Country and great state of Texas in which we live. We have tremendous resources and our leaders and medical professionals are working diligently to provide the very best care for all of us.

Our medical professionals have asked all of us to stay home as much as possible so they may continue to provide care for those in need and curtail the spread of this virus. This is the purpose of the shelter in place order for Kaufman County as well as our neighboring counties taking similar action. While it is understood this order will cause inconvenience and financial challenges, it is everyone’s responsibility to our communities to do our part to stop this pandemic from getting worse.

I want to thank our Commissioners, Dr. Ben Brashear, our legal team, and our Emergency Operations team for their guidance and support as we monitor and make difficult decisions to protect the residents of Kaufman County.

Together we will make a difference and I am looking forward to this virus passing and life back to normal.

Please visit our website, www.kaufmancounty.net for the latest and most up-to-date information.

ORIGINAL [Mar. 23] — The Kaufman County Commissioner’s Court has called an emergency meeting for tomorrow morning to discuss future action in response to COVID-19, Kaufman County officials announced moments ago.

The meeting will be held at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 24, 2020.

"Due to our proximity to the Metroplex, evidence supports a high probability the virus will continue to spread and reach Kaufman County," read a statement from the county. "We must all do our part to help reduce the risk of spreading the virus."

As of Monday morning, Kaufman County had not confirmed any positive cases of COVID-19, this according to Kaufman County Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Steve Howie, speaking to inForney.com.

At the time of press, the Forney City Council was undergoing an emergency meeting to discuss enacting a Stay at Home order. Neighboring Dallas and Hunt Counties had already enacted such measures.

"If you are a non-essential business, consider closing, reducing your workforce, or providing solutions for working from home," continued the statement from Kaufman County. "Community transmission means that COVID-19 is circulating and that we should act as if we are all exposed. If you are sick, you must stay home. All residents must monitor their health carefully at this time. Even if you are not sick, stay home as much as you can: work from home, study from home and avoid all unnecessary interactions and events."

Additional information will be made available at the conclusion of tomorrow's meeting.