KERR COUNTY, Texas — A State of Disaster was declared Tuesday by Kerr County Judge Rob Kelly, due to a public health and economic emergency.
The declaration is to take effect immediately, and the order states that the cause is to take the actions necessary to protect the health of the people of Kerr County.
The State of Disaster is set for a period of seven days unless the Kerr County Commissioners’ Court extends it.
Judge Kelly said in a press conference Tuesday that he’s been hesitant to issue the declaration because there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kerr County.
“There is no health emergency per se, right now,” stated Judge Kelly during a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
There are no positive diagnosis’ but the county with DHAS is monitoring 8 cases in Kerr County, according to Judge Kelly.
They are self-monitoring and self quarantining at the current time.
Judge Kelly said that the district courts are still open to handle all essential services as well as some civil matters.
The courthouse is open and will remain open, according to Judge Kelly.
Commissioner Letz said he wants the public to be aware that while the courthouse is operating for most functions, all offices have modified their operations. It’s not business as usual, but all elected officials are fulfilling their responsibilities.
Evictions and foreclosures have been suspended, according to Judge Kelly.
Vehicle registration and taxes have been suspended temporarily.
Property taxes, however, have not been suspended.
Each county commissioner is required to do a two-hour shift every day at the courthouse.
“We’ll keep the lights on. We’ll fly the flag, and we’re here on duty, to protect and serve,” said Judge Kelly.
The hospital and emergency teams are as prepared they can literally be.
They are asking that anyone who needs to be tested does not go to the hospital.
Anyone with symptoms needs to go to the doctor first. Then with a doctor’s order, they will be tested.
Peterson Regional Medical Center is conducting nasal swabs at the hospital, and then the tests are sent to a lab in San Antonio for testing.
Law enforcement and health care workers are exempt but must be screened before they can be tested.
Peterson Regional Medical Center has two negative pressure rooms and an entire wing that can be converted as necessary.
Schreiner University has cleared out an entire dormitory that can be used for quarantine if the situation comes to that.
There are several teachers and local coaches that are being reassigned to possibly help with the childcare situation in Kerr County.
KISD and Schreiner University is working on coming up with a solution. There will be more information available about this Thursday.
The local officials are working to keep all essential industries open to accommodate all local businesses as much as possible.
There are some areas in Kerr County that have possibly been affected by a damaged fiber optic cable due to construction and there is some concern that some residents may not be able to access 911 systems in the future.
Emergency action may be taken to stop the construction until the matter is cleared up so that no-one loses coverage.
Judge Kelly is also looking at implementing a curfew for juveniles due to a rise in incidents from the schools being out.
Kerr County has closed its juvenile detention facility and is now sending juveniles to out-of-county facilities. Due to some out-of-county facilities not accepting juveniles at this time, there might be problem future housing juveniles.
Judge Kelly said that he is concerned that they might have to release some juveniles locally that are in the system if they have nowhere to send them and working to get ahead of the issue.
“My advice at this point to the public is if possible, stay home,” said Judge Kelly. “If you can’t, then follow all of the other recommendations and the executive orders that have been put in place. Social distancing, limit 10 people per gathering, use your drive-throughs and take-outs.”
Judge Kelly said he got some great advice at a Whataburger Drive-through Monday. He said that the young lady at Whataburger said, “Judge, it’s better to be safe than sorry.”
He asked that everyone please stay home if possible. “Stay safe, stay smart, and God bless you.”