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. The Tarrant County Commissioners Court unanimously extended the local state of disaster declaration March 17 in relation to COVID-19 to an additional 90 days.

The Tarrant County Commissioners Court unanimously extended the local state of disaster declaration made Friday in relation to COVID-19 to an additional 90 days at its Tuesday meeting.

County administrator G.K. Maenius said the length of the extension is a typical time frame for things like these and usually used in burn bans.

There’s a section in the order where the court can reduce the extension length if need be, Maenius said.

The Tarrant County declaration states a public health emergency and activates the Tarrant County Emergency Plan in accordance with the Texas Government Code section 418.018(b).

The original declaration made on Friday was issued for a period of no more than seven days unless issued to be renewed or continued by the commissioners court.

A sixth positive case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Tarrant County on Monday. The new case is of a Grand Prairie resident who contracted the virus in Tarrant County with no known exposure to a confirmed case and no recent travel history.

This is the first case of presumed local transmission of COVID-19 in Tarrant County, and the individual is isolated at home after developing symptoms.

The individual is a health care worker who had been seeing sick individuals throughout the week, said Vinny Taneja, Tarrant County Public Health director, at the meeting. The worker being around sick individuals is likely the source of the positive test, but they haven’t identified a contact point at this time.

Tarrant County is prepared for an increase in COVID-19 cases, Taneja said. He expressed that social distancing only works if everyone practices it.

“Every single one of us needs to take responsible decisions and actions for ourselves and our community,” he said. “That’s how social distancing works.”

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