TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Just four days after he said he would only use it as a last resort, Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran issued a county-wide “stay-at-home” order Friday afternoon.
“The purpose of this order is to further protect the health, safety, and welfare of Smith County.”
It will go into effect Friday night at 11:59 p.m. and will remain until April 10. Moran did say that he could revoke it early or could even extend it.
Many aspects of life will still go on as normal, despite the order.
“People will still go get gas, people will still go to the grocery store,” said Moran. He urged residents to continue safe social distancing measures.
Moran provided an infographic for residents as a guideline for what would be considered essential businesses.
The move comes just two days after neighboring Gregg County issued a similar order with four cases.
Smith County has been the heart of the coronavirus outbreak in East Texas, with 27 confirmed cases so far and 1 death. This accounts for well more than half of all cases in the Piney Woods.
Of the 27 cases, seven are believed to be travel-related while 20 are community spread. Nine patients are currently hospitalized while 17 are quarantined at home.
24 of the 27 cases are in Tyler while the other three are in other county areas.
“The primary defense still remains the individual decision that we each make on a minute-by-minute basis. I cannot regulate common sense.”
Here is the running total number of East Texas cases as of this writing:
- Smith County – 27
- Morris County – 1
- Cass County – 1
- Van Zant – 1
- Gregg County – 4
- Rusk County – 2
- Bowie County – 1
- Hopkins County – 1
- Nacogdoches County – 1
- Upshur County – 1
- Angelina County – 1
- Harrison County – 1
- Shelby County – 1
- Cherokee County – 1
It is the latest development in extraordinary measures governments have had to take in an effort to contain the virus.
On Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott ordered that everyone flying into Texas from the New York area or New Orleans to go under a mandatory self-quarantine for two weeks.
It has been a week since Gov. Abbott signed his initial executive order that put in place strict social distancing restrictions across the state. These included:
- Bans on groups larger than 10 people
- All schools and gyms shut down
- Bars and restaurants must suspend in-house service
- Hospital and nursing home visits prohibited unless providing medical care
That order is still active until Friday, April 3, after which Abbott said the state will reevaluate its position.