Coronavirus (COVID-19) seems to be in every ones thoughts and is the topic of discussion throughout the state and nation. I have enlisted the help of City Secretary Maria Hernandez, and we have started working on an Emergency Management plan for the city, not only in the event if we have anyone infected with the COVID-19, but for other disaster scenarios that may affect the city and our citizens.

In trying to gather as much information as possible, I reached out to Guadalupe County Judge Kyle Kutscher to see if they had a plan of action in place. He put me in touch with the Guadalupe County Emergency Management Coordinator Patrick Pinder. He and his office shared the county’s response and emergency contact information.

There is a statewide conference call set up to answer question that our leaders are asking and it will continue through the month of March. Governor Abbott set up conference call for judges and mayors so they can ask their questions and/or be directed to the proper personnel. These phone conversations have been very informative and have given me a great deal of information to be able to do my job effectively and setting up the protocols within our proposed plan.

All of these discussion make me think back about 10-and-a-half years ago. I was one of the unlucky ones that contracted the H1N1 (Swine Flu) in October of 2009 when I was at a school board conference in Houston along with about 8,000 of my then fellow board members.

A few statistics from 2009 in the U.S., 274,304 were hospitalized and 12,469 died because of that disease. I realize that given the choices for not having a statewide event doesn’t seem like a good idea, but the alternative is not something that our families really would like to go through either. I would not want any of our residents to go through the 45 days in the hospital and years long recovery time that I had to endure. I wished that back then the responses had been different. Now, I see we have learned from our past experiences, and our communities are taking a more active role in communicating the hazards of not doing anything at all. Check out the City of Marion website for information on the COVID-19. Remember to keep washing your hands, use 60% alcohol based hand sanitizer when water is not available; cover your coughs with a tissue; and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. These are just a few of the tips to help prevent the spread of the virus. For more information visit, dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus .

A big shout out and thank you to our city staff for all their help in keeping our residents in the forefront. I am now in a more hands on role as the mayor and I rely more on the city secretary. She oversees the front office and has been very helpful in keeping up with my schedule of meetings and requests. We have a new Alderman, Chris McClain, who is filling the unexpired term left vacant by the late Art Andrews. He comes to us with a wealth of experience and knowledge.

Victor Contreras is the mayor of the city of Marion and writes a monthly column which appears every second Sunday.

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