With the nation and world becoming increasingly absorbed in the novel coronavirus outbreak, impacts are increasingly being felt in Bandera County though no cases of the virus had been confirmed in the county as of the beginning of the week and no one who had called the county’s Emergency Medical Service for aid was suspected of having the potentially deadly virus, emergency officials said.
Carey Reed, the county’s Emergency Management Coordinator, said on Monday, March 16, that it was possible someone with flu-like symptoms or who worried that they might have been near someone with coronavirus had decided to self-quarantine themselves in their homes after consulting with a private doctor, but no one who called to EMS for evaluation complained about those concerns or had been instructed to isolate themselves at home to await testing since the county began focusing on the outbreak in recent weeks.
“The county is open, and everyone is working,” she said. “We’re keeping our fingers crossed and doing what we can... Right now, we’re holding our own
Other areas of the county, mainly densely populated metropolitan areas, were being hit harder as the coronavirus count continued to expand.
Schools, including those in Bandera County, were taking extended breaks, businesses were instructing employees to work from home, sporting events and other activities that attracted big crowds were being called off, toilet paper and fresh meat products were becoming harder to find at stores and fears were rising about how to prepare for a virus that as of yet was immune to any vaccine and had killed more than 7,000 worldwide and 69 in the United States as of Monday, March 16.
That includes the first death reported in Texas, which also arose on Monday. That involved a Matagorda County man in his late 90s.
Studies indicated 67 cases of coronavirus had been confirmed in Texas as of Monday, including three in Bexar County, two in Travis County and one in Hays County and San Marcos, which issued a disaster declaration on Simday, March 15, after the first case was confirmed.
The City of Kerrville also approved a disaster declaration on Monday that allowed an emergency operation center to open to keep track of the changing situation involving the virus.
Bandera County Judge Richard Evans said that without a confirmed case in the county, he did not think he needed to declare a pre-emptive disaster declaration.
But he did urge residents to use common sense in leading ing their lives - washtheir hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, never touching their mouth, nose or eyes with unwashed hands, staying home if they feel sick and keeping their distance from other people when possible to limit the possible transfer of the virus.
Without a disaster declaration, the county could not move to close down bars and restaurants, at least those without drive-through or take out options, which has been done in other cities. But Evans said it was a good idea to stay away from places with a lot of people, especially if you are elderly or have underlying health conditions that make you more susceptible to experiencing severe complications from coronavirus.
Still, ramifications of the outbreak were being felt in Bandera County.
The Bandera and Medina school districts called off classes for an extra week after Spring Break— extending the vacation until Friday, March 20.
The two senior centers in Bandera had complied with federal instructions and had closed off their facilities to most visitors, and area hospitals were limiting visitation for patients, screening visitors for the virus and setting up an isolation area to treat people with symptoms of the virus.
In addition, the Bandera Natural History Museum closed its doors until at least Sunday, March 22, as a result of the coronavirus, St. Stanislaps Catholic Church and St. Victor Chapel in compliance with direction from the Archdiocese of San Antonio had suspended weekend Masses until a review is held March 31, and state district court proceedings were delayed until at least April 1 if officials deemed that in-person appearances created unreasonable risks for those involved.
Also some events were being delayed or cancelled, including two performances by the Carson & Barnes Circus planned by the Optimist Club of Bandera on Friday, March 20, the 20th annual Fish Fly & Auction at Lakehills United Methodist Church set for Saturday, March 21, and the first annual Bunny Run scheduled by the Arthur Nagel Community Clinic on Apri14.