Special to the Bulletin
The number of active COVID-19 cases fell by one to a total of three in Bandera County by the end of last week, but county officials were still waiting to hear if the state had agreed to grant it an exemption to the mandate that requires people to were face coverings in public when close contact with others is unavoidable.
The state has established a process that allows counties to get an exemption from the face covering mandate if the county’s active COVID-19 count is below 20 for 30 straight days.
Bandera County officials said the active caseload locally reached that 30-day trigger on Aug. 19, and they submitted documentation to the Texas Division of Emergency Management shortly thereafter to get its authorization to lift the face covering requirement.
As of Monday, Sept. 7, however, no word approving the exemption had been received. Local officials have asked the emergency management district coordinator who oversees issues in Bandera County to see if she can get an answer on the local request.
The total COVID-19 count in Bandera County remained at 116 as of Friday, Sept. 4. That’s the same number it’s been at since at least Aug. 28.
But the number of active COVID-19 cases in the county fell to fell 3 on Wednesday, Sept. 2, and stayed at that number on Friday. The active caseload had been at 4 as recently as Aug. 31.
In the most recent COVID-19 count from Region 8 of the Department of State Health Services last Friday, 112 cases in the county were listed as “recovered” and one death had been attributed to the virus in the county.
Bandera County Emergency Management Coordinator Carey Reed said her office has quit getting calls from county residents eager to find a location where they could be tested for the coronavirus or who were worried about what to do if they believed they had made contact with someone who had the virus like it had been weeks ago.
“I don’t know what happened. It just got very quiet,” she said.
Reed and County Judge Richard Evans both said they had not been advised that any infection issues had arisen in Bandera Independent School District schools since students returned to class on Aug. 17.
Information supplied by the school district said no active COVID-19 cases had been reported among its students or staff as of Thursday, Sept. 3, but 15 reports had been received of students or staff members who had been exposed to someone with a confirmed positive case of the virus.
Also, on Monday, Sept. 7, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a proclamation extending his Disaster Declaration for all Texas counties in response to COVID-19. The declaration had been issued originally on March 13 to see that the state had adequate resources and strategies in place to help communities across the state combat the outbreak.
The declaration states that COVID-19 “poses an imminent threat of disaster for all counties of Texas.”