CALDWELL COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — On Monday, Caldwell County Judge Hoppy Hayden declared a local state of disaster within Caldwell County due to the threat posed by COVID-19.
Judge Hayden said that Caldwell County does not have any presumptive positive cases that the county is aware of. In fact, Hayden said the County is not actively testing anyone for COVID-19 right now.
“We issued a declaration in an abundance of caution,” Hayden said.
The county noted that this disaster declaration will allow for and speed up resources to respond, while also allowing local officials more authority to take action to COVID-19. This declaration will last for seven days unless it is extended by the Caldwell County Commissioners Court.
This order also bans community gatherings of 250 people or more anywhere in Caldwell County. The declaration explained that a violation of a Disaster Declaration is punishable as a Class C misdemeanor with fines of up to $1,000 and potential jail time of up to 180 days.
The declaration states, “the continued worldwide spread of COVID-19 presents an imminent threat of widespread illnesses and risks overwhelming current health care resources. “
The judge continues, “emergency action is required to take immediate steps to prepare for, respond to, and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 to protect the health and welfare of residents in Caldwell County.”
The declaration also means a postponement of the Old Settler’s Music Festival which was scheduled for April. Judge Hayden said the music festival is an event which thousands of people from all over the world attend.
“We are not like Travis County where we have the drive-through testing facility, we don’t have that availability, we are telling people if you have symptoms, stay home,” Hayden said.
This comes after Texas Governor Greg Abbott made a statewide disaster declaration Friday and Travis County leaders extended a county-wide disaster declaration to address the spread of COVID-19 earlier last week.