Fairfield declares local disaster, public health emergency over pandemic

  • The CDC reminds how to stop the spread of germs during the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed thousands of lives.
    The CDC reminds how to stop the spread of germs during the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed thousands of lives.

A statement from Fairfield Mayor Kenneth Hughes Friday morning stated that the city is declaring a local disaster and public health emergency, following suit with the state on the coronavirus pandemic. The declaration was made “in order to continue [Fairfield’s] emergency management coordination with fellow cities, counties and state,” said Hughes.

This includes following guidelines made by Texas Governor Greg Abbott during a Thursday afternoon news conference. Abbott’s executive order regarding statewide restrictions is an attempt to slow the spread of the pandemic.

The order includes the following provisions, effective for the entire state, including Freestone and surrounding counties:

-Schools, including Fairfield Independent School District (FISD), will be closed through April 3. FISD will continue lesson and meal plans as scheduled. Meals will be provided to students beginning Monday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the following locations:

            -Fairfield High School bus loop

            -Butler VFD

            -Streetman VFD

            -Southern Oaks VFD

-Gatherings of 10 or more people are banned.

-Restaurants are limited to drive-through, delivery and pick-up options only.

-Bars, indoor recreation facilities and other public venues are to close.

-The order also bans most nursing home visitations.

“We must defeat COVID-19 with the only tools available to us,” Abbott said.

Hughes noted that as of Friday morning, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Freestone County.

For city billing, there are online and telephone options available for residents who do not wish to venture outside. The city has drop boxes available for payment at 425 W. Commerce St., or at the police station at 839 E. Commerce St.

If further assistance is required, contact Fairfield City Hall at 903-389-2633.

In addition to school closures, UIL has postponed all sporting events, including games and practices, through May 2.

Local events have been ravaged as a result of the outbreak, including planned city staples such as Fairfield Fest and Market Days and the Easter Eggstravaganza. One local event still on is the monthly Fairfield High School Recycle, held Saturday at the bus loop from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. When you arrive, stay in your vehicle, and staff will come out to assist you.

For those in Teague, all city facilities are closed to the public as of Thursday, and customers may pay their utility and court payments at the drop box located at the Teague Police Deparment, 315 Main Street. Utility payments may be made over the phone by calling City Hall at 254-739-2547 ext. 101 or 102 or online by visiting www.xpressbillpay.com. For over the phone court payments, please call 254-739-2553.

Freestone Medical Center reports that confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Texas rose to 83 Thursday night, with two deaths. The medical center is making “as advanced preparations as possible” during these times, and appreciates the support of the community.

Texas Health and Human Services has been on the front line to assist Texans, and encourage all in need of COVID-19 information and referrals to community resources to call the 2-1-1 Texas hotline (2-1-1, option 6) 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Meanwhile, statewide Texas WIC offices are available for those who have a job or income affected by the outbreak. WIC benefits include food such as milk, eggs, cheese, bread and more. Residents can find their local WIC office contact information at find.texaswic.org. Applications can be made at www.texaswic.org/apply.

On the national front, New York and California have required all nonessential business workers to stay home. The two states have a combined population of nearly 59 million people. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf also gave a similar order to his 12.82 million residents.

Beginning at midnight Friday evening, the United States borders with Mexico and Canada will be closed to all non-essential travel, with priority given to those seeking entry for trade, commerce, education and medical professionals, as well as first-responders.

As of Friday afternoon, more than 10,000 deaths globally have been caused by the outbreak.

The Recorder will continue to monitor this fluid situation, and provide updates as needed.