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    Community leaders gather to issue a disaster declaration for Stephens County/Breckenridge due to the belief that COVID-19 has entered the community. The emergency press conference took place on Monday, March 16 inside the County Courthouse. B.A. photo by A.D. Chachere

County, City officials declare public health emergency due to COVID-19

Stephens County and Breckenridge officials have decided to declare a local disaster due to a public health emergency on Monday, March 16 at the County Courthouse. The declaration comes as officials believe the community may have active cases of COVID-19.

“Locally we have been trying to get our arms around the impact this virus will have on our community,” County Judge Michael Roach said. “The trigger was the moment we felt the community had local transmission of COVID-19. It’s a very strong belief that we have active cases of COVID-19 in Stephens County/Breckenridge.”

The decision comes after Texas Governor Greg Abbot declared a disaster declaration for the state of Texas.

"The testing is not widespread throughout the state of Texas and it is very difficult to confirm whether someone has the virus," Judge Roach said. "We've met with the local doctors and it was never a matter of if, but a matter of when it would get to our community. What we want citizens to know today is that we do feel we have the virus spreading throughout the community. We don't want individuals to panic, but we want to inform the community."

Community leader's reason for bringing awareness to the spread of the virus was to inform members of the community mostly the elderly members to be mindful.

"We are asking the public to take this as serious as it is and follow the recommendation of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Texas Department of State Health Services. These active measures will be in place until April 20," Judge Roach said.

The recommendations include:
Cancel all gatherings/events of over 50 people.
Call your local health care provider before going into the doctor's office if you fear you may have the virus.
Frequently wash your hands for 20 seconds.
Avoid touching nose, mouth, and eyes with unwashed hands.

For more information regarding COVID-19, visit the Texas Department of State Health Services at https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/ or the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/

Breckenridge American

114 East Elm Street

PO Box 871

Breckenridge, Texas 76424

Phone: (254) 559-5412
Fax: (940) 228-0589