As local COVID cases reach 100, county officials prepare to consider whether to mandate masks.
By SARA VANDEN BERGE
With surging numbers in new COVID patients across the state, Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday that Texas is facing a “massive outbreak,” and that local officials should begin to consider tightening restrictions.
In Erath County, numbers continued to climb with 15 new cases reported on Wednesday, the highest number in a single day since the pandemic began.
Officials believe there are 77 active cases in the county.
As the total number of cases reached 100, Stephenville’s health authority, Dr. Kelly Doggett, said he supports a county-wide mandate requiring citizens to wear masks in places of business.
“I knew when Gov. Abbott reopened Texas, we’d see an increase in cases, but it may be worse than I feared,” Doggett said. “We should be doing everything we can to slow the spread of the virus. The governor says we should all stay home when possible, but his stay-at-home order has expired.
“From what I see on the streets of Stephenville, few are heeding his advice and I’ve pushed for an order to wear masks in businesses as other counties have.”
Erath County Judge Alfonso Campos told BTS News that officials will meet Monday to consider whether to issue that mandate.
Meanwhile, Doggett said he remains frustrated that people still aren’t taking the virus seriously.
“I urge people to consider the consequences of their actions and do the right thing,” Doggett said. “As it’s been said, ‘Those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.’
“In my experience, it seems that a lot of folks don’t think COVID is a big deal until they or a loved one gets it. Then it’s a really big deal.”