The county extended it’s local disaster declaration to keep in line with the state’s.
County commissioners during a regular meeting Tuesday morning extended the local declaration of disaster order and public health emergency until a similar order Gov. Greg Abbott signed ends statewide.
Guadalupe County Commissioners Court approved the measure by a 4-0 vote. Precinct 4 Commissioner Judy Cope was not at the meeting. The order can be rescinded at any time.
Emergency Management Coordinator Patrick Pinder recommended the court extend the order another 30 days or until Abbott suspends his order.
Pinder made the recommendation following an update he gave Commissioners Court on the state of the pandemic in Guadalupe County.
His office continues to deliver COVID-19-related supplies to different agencies, entities and departments across the county, Pinder said. He provided the court with updated numbers for coronavirus tests conducted in Guadalupe County.
“Yesterday the county did their fifth COVID testing site,” Pinder said. “At Seguin ISD we tested 440 people yesterday, the biggest we’ve ever seen in Guadalupe County.”
Pinder said his office and the Texas Department of State Health Services differ on ways to report COVID-19 results. DSHS personnel are combining numbers of probable cases with positive cases and the county only reports confirmed positive cases, Pinder said.
Still, he said, Guadalupe County is seeing increases in positive test result, partially because testing has increased dramatically, the emergency manager said.
Increases have been noticed in various areas of the state, Pinder said. In Bexar County, officials have mandated that businesses require customers wear masks to receive service, he said.
Bexar County had to spend more than $500,000 for a million masks after ordering the procedure, Pinder said. Guadalupe County likely would have to purchase and provide masks if it ordered businesses to require the face coverings, he said.
Also, areas across the state recently saw troubling increases related to the coronavirus.
“I know some areas are seeing increases in hospitalizations but Guadalupe County is not seeing those increases,” Pinder said.
It is highly unlikely Guadalupe County would be able to enforce a mask ordinance like that in Bexar County, Guadalupe County Judge Kyle Kutscher said. He said he and commissioners feel people in this county can achieve the same results without government intervening.
Slowing the spread can be achieved by people practicing good hygiene, staying socially distant from others outside their immediate households and wearing facial coverings when they must go out into the public, Kutscher said. However, he said he knows it can be a challenge for many people.
‘I think people have just grown numb to certain things,” Kutscher said. “I think the majority of the public is fed up with this stuff. They’ve been inundated with COVID since spring break every minute of every day and even before that.”
People in the community need to look at the bright side and not focus on negativity, Precinct 2 Commissioner Drew Engelke said.
Guadalupe County has had one death associated with the novel coronavirus, he said.
“The overall picture, I think, is we have one COVID-related death, which I’m going to specify ‘related,’” Engelke said. “We haven’t even confirmed that it’s a COVID-only death. Fatalities in the state are going down.”
Additionally, Engelke said people should focus on getting back to what worked in the beginning to help keep Guadalupe County’s coronavirus numbers low.
County residents quarantined, home-schooled their children, practiced social distancing and more for the first couple months of the pandemic and it worked, Engelke said.
“People, I think for the most part, are still going to abide by what we need to do but they’re just tired,” he said. “It’s summer time.”
Just because the big Fourth of July holiday approaches doesn’t mean people should rush to join others at large- or even moderately-sized celebrations as if the pandemic has ended, Kutscher said. Everyone needs to do what’s best for the community, he said.
“It’s time for individuals to take responsibility,” Kutscher said. “You can’t have the government take responsibility for every facet of your life every day and expect us to be there for you. It’s going to take individuals to be responsible and go out and do what they have to do to have an impact on this.
“For those who are deathly afraid to go out and be exposed to that, don’t go out, stay home.”