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President: This will pass

By Dawn Burleigh

In a speech on Friday, President Donald Trump said this experience with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) virus will make the United States stronger as he declared a National State of Emergency.

“This will pass,” Trump said. “We will be stronger for it. We have learned a lot from this experience.”

Ten days ago, Trump reached out to commercial labs and announced a new partnership with private labs.

“We don’t want people taking the test if they don’t need it, only if they have certain symptoms,” Trump said.

He added a half million test would be available as early as Sunday and five million next month.

“I doubt we will need that many,” Trump said. “Drive thru testing will be made available in crucial areas.”

This announcement was declared an hour after the governor of Texas declared a State of Disaster for all Texas Counties.

“From the very beginning, our number one objective has been to implement preventative strategies that build on our state’s existing public health capabilities so that no matter how this situation unfolds, Texas will be ready,” said Governor Abbott. “That is exactly what our state agencies have done. The State of Texas is prepared, and we continue to take proactive measures along with the support of our federal and local partners to contain this virus and keep Texans safe. Declaring a State of Disaster is a key component of these efforts because it allows the state to effectively serve the people of Texas without hindrance or delay. When Texans come together, there is nothing we can’t overcome—and it is up to all of us to work proactively and collaboratively to respond to this challenge and protect public health.”

 

By declaring a State of Disaster, a number of actions are triggered by the Governor, including:

  • Authorizing the use of all available and necessary state government resources to help manage this situation.
  • Activating the state emergency management plan and the State Operations Center to enhance the state’s planning and response capabilities.
  • Giving TDEM the ability to reassign & fully utilize appropriate personnel where they are needed most.
  • Providing the immediate ability to move resources around the state, including resources obtained through the Strategic National Stockpile.
  • Empowering the Office of the Texas Attorney General (OAG) to pursue cases of price-gouging and ensure that offenders are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

 

To protect the most vulnerable population, the Governor also directed state agencies to restrict visitations at certain facilities. This directive allows limited exceptions for situations like end-of-life visitations and requires all individuals to go through proper screening.

Agencies will be restricting visitation at the following facilities:

  • Nursing homes
  • State-supported living centers
  • Hospitals
  • Daycare facilities
  • Prisons, jails, and juvenile justice facilities

Orange County residents, while there are no confirmed cases of the virus are still feeling the effects as grocery store shelves were emptied of essentials such as toilet paper this week.

One Walmart associate told this reporter the shortage was due to the warehouse being shut down.

However, this was one of the many rumors flying around this the scare began.

“The associate is misinformed,” Walmart Media Relations Casey Staheli said on Thursday. “No warehouse have been closed. We are working with suppliers and vendors to get stock to the stores.”

Since this situation is national and not regional, the impact is being felt across the country.

In the meantime, events are being canceled across the county as a precaution.

Family Fun & Food Fest scheduled to take place at the Riverfront Boardwalk and Pavilion on Saturday, March 21 has been canceled as well as all special programming and events at Stark Museum of Art and Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center are cancelled through April 4, 2020.

W.H. Stark House will not hold the second Friday and Saturday tours on March 13-14, 2020.

“Our highest priority is the health and well-being of our community and employees,” CEO of the The Nelda C. and H. J. Lutcher Stark Foundation Tad McKee said. “We want to be responsible and help keep our patrons, staff, and volunteers healthy.”

Lamar State College Orange is temporarily transitioning to a flexible learning environment.

Spring Break, originally scheduled for March 16-20, will be extended for students through March 27.

This additional week allows instructors time to adjust class schedules and inform students how classes will be presented for the ensuing weeks.

On March 30, instructional delivery will resume for all students under the terms specified for each course.  Return to regularly scheduled course delivery is scheduled for April 13, 2020, unless the need to extend it arises.

“My intent is for this to not be too disruptive to our students and return to normal as soon as we can,” President Thomas Johnson said.

Samaritan Counseling Center is not cancelling appointments or closing the office at this time.

In a statement released concerning the virus, Samaritan Counseling Center said:

“We understand that the COVID-19 epidemic is causing physical, mental, and emotional stress to everyone in our community. We are committed to meeting our community’s total health needs.”

Schools in the area are also monitoring the situation.

West Orange Cove Consolidated Independent School District posted the following on Facebook:

 

WOCCISD is closely monitoring this situation and will continue to monitor it over the break. Many are wondering if we will have an additional week added to spring break, we have not made a decision at this point. The district will continue to monitor the situation as it progresses over the next week. As always, the safety of our students and staff is our number one priority.
As an additional precaution, the district has acquired the services of the company GermBlast to deep clean and disinfect all campuses, playgrounds, athletic facilities & buses.

 

Acadia Companies is participating in daily calls and meetings internally and externally to remain informed and prepared based on the most current information and guidance provided by state and federal officials as well as the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control.

“We are implementing enhanced dispatch protocols to prescreen for suspected exposure or viral epidemiology,” Acadian Companies Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard Zuschlag said. “We continue to follow CDC guidelines and sanitize our vehicles after each transport.

We are also ensuring that our employees have access to the proper personal protective equipment to minimize their risk of exposure.”

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet) and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Steps to protect yourself include:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.