The Commissioners Court held a special called meeting Monday morning. The courtroom was limited to no more than ten people. The five-member Court was joined by a deputy with the County Clerk’s Office to record the meeting, a couple of elected officials, and other county employees rotated in and out.
County Judge John Gothia provided the reason for the called meeting was extension of his Disaster Declaration issued a week ago and was only good for seven days. The declaration was extended for thirty days. Gothia added the order can be rescinded before the thirty days if the COVID-19 epidemic is resolved earlier than that.
During the meeting county Emergency Management Coordinator Joel Ardoin updated the Commissioners on the recently activated COVID-19 hotline for citizens to call if they suspect them may have the virus. The hotline became available on Friday, March 20, and has been very active since then.
Ardoin indicated the hotline was receiving over 300 calls a day over the first weekend it was available. The number of calls has increased as of Monday according to Ardoin. “From the Orange County side as of Sunday we had received 60 calls,” Ardoin stated. So far, overall in Orange County fourteen have been tested, eleven are pending, two are negative and the one positive test confirmed from a Mauriceville resident.
The COVID-19 hotline number is (409) 550-2536. The phone call will help determine whether the citizen caller qualifies for testing of the Coronavirus.
Gothia and Ardoin were at the Jefferson County Airport Monday afternoon for a press conference announcing the opening of a regional testing center for Coronavirus at the facility. The testing center will serve several of the surrounding counties including Orange County.
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-