SOUTHEAST TEXAS — BREAKING: Stay-at-Home order issued for six counties in region, including Jefferson, Hardin, Orange, Jasper, Newton and Tyler. Beaumont issued its own order earlier.
The county orders take effect at midnight and last a minimum of two weeks.
Beaumont Mayor Becky Ames announced a Stay-at-Home order for the city to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. The order allows only those businesses deemed essential to remain open, including grocery stores, gas stations, hospitals and medical centers, and others. The mayor is urging people to stay home unless absolutely necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick and the Emergency Management Team of other county judges will announced a Stay-at-Home order for Jefferson, Hardin, Orange, Jasper, Newton and Tyler Counties this afternoon. He tells KFDM/Fox 4 he and others on the Emergency Management Team for the six county area have been talking with doctors and other health care professionals continually about the spread of COVID-19. The judge says it's clear there is a need to tighten the guidelines to help reduce the spread.
The Stay-at-Home order will spell out essential businesses allowed to remain open. In most counties with such orders, that will include grocery stores, gas stations, first responders, the energy sector and other businesses. Restaurants here currently have been closed but allowed to offer carry out or delivery.
Violating the order can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 180 days in jail.
So far, there are 13 cases of COVID-19 in the region. That includes 8 in Beaumont, 2 in Silsbee, 2 in Lumberton and 1 in Orange. Michael Westbrook, 54, the band director for Hardin-Jefferson ISD, died Thursday after contracting COVID-19.
Doctors and Nurse Practitioners are drafting a letter urging the Emergency Management Team to issue a Stay-at-Home order for Jefferson, Hardin, Orange and surrounding counties. The team includes County Judges from Jasper, Newton and Tyler Counties. They say the Emergency Order/Disaster Declaration in place doesn't go far enough in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
We, the undersigned physicians and healthcare providers, are calling on the surrounding counties including Jefferson, Hardin, and Orange, to immediately issue a Stay at Home order consistent with the one issued by Harris county, which allows only pre-assigned critical infrastructure as listed by the US Department of Homeland Security National Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to remain open and for people to remain in their individual residences unless absolutely necessary.
The threat of COVID-19 in our communites is real and must be taken seriously. Many people are unable to get tested due to lack of resources, and there is likely a vast underestimation of how widespread this is in our region. We should do everything possible to ensure the safety of all and to avoid overwhelming our healthcare facilities. Our hearts go out to everyone in Southeast Texas who have already been affected by this virus and to their families and loved ones. Our hope is that we can mitigate the effects on our communities by taking quick and necessary action.
We would like to emphasize to our elected officials that under a public health crisis, the health and safety of the general public should take precedent to all other concerns. We are reliant on you to make the correct decisions during this critical time. We urge you to follow the examples put forth by our neighboring communities and issue a strong and enforceable Stay at Home order immediately.
58 signatories (49 physicians, 9 NPs) as of 8:45am 3/27/20
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