Tarrant County declares state of disaster, announces second presumptive positive case of coronavirus (copy)

Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley speaks at a press conference March 13 in the Commissioner's Court room in downtown Fort Worth. Whitley, Vinny Taneja, Tarrant County Public Health director, left, and Catherine Colquitt, Tarrant County Public Health medical director, right, also spoke and answered questions concerning the steps the county is taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

The Tarrant County Commissioners Court approved several COVID-19 related matters at an emergency meeting Sunday.

The first agenda item approved was to add an amendment to the Tarrant County Emergency Management Plan, county administrator G.K. Maenius said. The amendment is to add a fine punishable up to $1,000 and jail time for a term up to 180 days for violating any ordinances under the emergency management plan.

The second agenda item was to add Forest Hill and Richland Hills to the county's emergency management plan, County Judge Glen Whitley said. The item was approved by the court.

The third item was in relation to Whitley’s second amended disaster declaration, which was made Saturday. The amendment ordered the closures of in-person worship services, malls and nonessential retail establishments such as barbershops and hair salons, according to a previous Shorthorn article.

The item for the court on Sunday was to ratify the amendment and extend it till April 5. It was approved by the court and effective immediately.

The fourth item approved is related to the county providing paid time off to county employees unable to work from home due to certain factors. The item is based on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that President Donald Trump signed Wednesday.

The factors include if an employee is in quarantine or self-quarantine because of COVID-19 or if the employee is caring for a child while schools, daycares or child care providers are closed. Whitley said the paid time off is for two weeks.

County commissioner Roy Brooks asked the court to review the item to add additional weeks after the initial two-week period is over. The court agreed and the item was approved.

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