City and Hays County to issue state of disaster

Hays+County+Historic+Court+House.

Hays County Historic Court House.

Photo by Jakob Rodriguez

Jakob Rodriguez, Editor-In-Chief

The City of San Marcos issued a press release following the announcement of Hays County’s first presumptive positive COVID-19 case, the City of San Marcos, in coordination with the County, is planning to declare a state of disaster.

Per Hays County, the presumptive positive patient traveled to multiple cities along the West Coast of the United States and is believed to have been exposed while traveling. The press release states the presumed first case did not expose any Hays County residents to this disease.

“Upon arrival back to Central Texas, the patient notified the Hays County Local Health Department about their symptoms. The patient was admitted to a local hospital and has since been released to self-quarantine at home,” the press release reads. “At no time did they expose any Hays County residents to this disease. The Hays County Local Health Department is working with the Department of State Health Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to notify the passengers that were potentially exposed while on the plane with the patient.

Mayor of San Marcos Jane Hughson said that it was inevitable to see a case in the area, and that the city’s emergency plan has allowed the city to reallocate resources and to utilize all disaster funding resources available through the state and federal agencies.

“The declaration activates our emergency plan and will allow us to allocate resources and to utilize all disaster funding and resources available through state and federal agencies,” Hughson said.  “We knew we would eventually see cases in our area, and have been working cooperatively with our regional partners to protect our residents.  We remind everyone to remain calm and to continue to practice preventive measures.”

Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra said the county has been preparing for this situation and has ensured that protocols are established and followed.

“As this is a pandemic disease, we fully expected to see cases in Hays County and have been preparing for this situation,” Becerra said. “We have been working with local and state officials to ensure that protocols are established and followed, and that we have access to additional resources should they be necessary.”

While all city events are not canceled, Hughson said the city will be making “appropriate adjustments” to protect residents in public spaces.

The Council and the City’s leadership team continue to evaluate operating procedures at all City facilities and will adjust event schedules to proactively take precautions to protect residents and our community,” said Hughson.  “We aren’t canceling all City events at this time, but will be making appropriate adjustments depending on the location, participants and the availability of volunteers who are vital to our operation.”

The following is a list of changes to previous plans and scheduled events the city has had to make adjustments to due to growing concerns of COVID-19: 

  • The City Council meeting and work session on Tuesday, Mar. 17 will continue as scheduled; however, the public is encouraged to send written public comment by email to [email protected] and to watch the live stream of the meeting at http://www.sanmarcostx.gov/421/City-Council-Videos-Archives or on the Government channel on Grande channel 16 and Spectrum channel 10 beginning at 3 p.m..  Written citizen comment will be accepted up to 5:45 p.m. on Tuesday.
  • All other board and commission meetings scheduled for the week of March 16-20 have been canceled or postponed.  These include the Parking Advisory Board, Airport Advisory Board, Arts Commission, Main Street Advisory Board, Neighborhood Commission and the San Marcos Youth Commission Meeting.

 

  • Spring Break Camp will continue as scheduled but the program has been adjusted for participants to remain at the Dunbar Center for the entirety of the week.  Staff have been in communication with the parents of all those signed up for the camp.  

 

  • Municipal Court will be resetting all court dockets scheduled through April 1 until a date later in April and May. Defendants who have an appearance date noted on their citation from now through April 1, 2020, and have not scheduled a court date yet, may call the court at 512.393.8190 to do so. The Municipal Court Customer service counter at the Hays County Government Center, 712 S Stagecoach Trail, will be open to the public during regular scheduled business hours. The court also accepts payments over the phone and via the website at http://www.sanmarcostx.gov/696/Payments.

 

  • All other City facilities will operate normal hours at this time, but this is being evaluated and may be adjusted.  Special attention will be given to programs for those who are at the highest risk such as senior adults.  Please also note that Hays County, the City of San Marcos and many other organizations have online payment available for many services through their websites.

 

  • The City is also continuing to evaluate employee status and safety, and implementing measures needed for public facing operations, canceling non-essential business travel, asking employees to report personal travel, coordinating Telework options, alternating shifts when feasible, and coordinating with staff who may have childcare needs based on school or daycare closures.

Contact your healthcare provider or the Hays County Local Health Department at 512.393.5520 if you have any questions about COVID-19 or if you are concerned that you have been exposed. The Hays County Health Department has a monitoring protocol in place which will be explained to you if warranted. If you are experiencing symptoms, health professionals recommend calling ahead and consulting with your physician’s office prior to arrival. 

San Marcos will continue to follow the guidelines set forth by the State Department of Health Services, the Hays County Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control. Current updates and helpful links may be found at https://sanmarcostx.gov/279/Coronavirus-and-Flu-Information-and-Prev.

The joint press conference will be held at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Mar. 15 at the Historic Hays County Courthouse, 111 E San Antonio St, first floor rotunda.  The event will be live-streamed on Facebook at the City of San Marcos TX – City Hall page.


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