The Johnson County Commissioners Court, during a Friday called meeting, made no changes to the county’s current COVID-19 orders, other than to keep the latest version in effect.
Those orders will remain in effect until such time as the court sees fit to alter or rescind them, County Judge Roger Harmon said.
“They seem to be working well,” Harmon said. “I’m gauging that from what I see out in the county and the fact that our new case numbers don’t seem to be overwhelming our existing case numbers, which is a good sign. But we’ll continue to monitor the situation and if we do see a spike in the numbers we’ll strengthen the order if we have to. That’s not something I want to do, but we’ll do whatever’s necessary to ensure the public’s safety.”
That’s not to suggest that residents should ease off of recommended precautionary measures, Harmon said.
“These people who are still going out in public when they don’t need to and thinking everything’s rosy, boy, they don’t need to be doing that,” Harmon said. “We can’t emphasize enough that it’s really important to wash your hands frequently, clean and sanitize frequently touched surfaces like doorknobs and keep that 6 feet of social distance. That’s not just a general number out of the air. Just, as far as these things go, do it.”
Harmon, in a nod to precaution, asked one county employee to leave the courtroom.
“Anyone who doesn’t need to be here for the meeting can watch it on the video,” Harmon said. “I feel bad having to say that and anyone can come in as long as we don’t exceed our numbers and maintain distance. But we want to keep our number in here down to try to limit potential exposure possibilities down.”
Harmon reiterated that while younger people with no underlying health issues stand a better chance of recovering from COVID-19 they remain just as susceptible to catching it as anyone else.
“This is not just a problem for elderly people,” Harmon said. “It’s a problem for all.”
Harmon said he participated in a recent conference call with other area county judges during which it was said that positive cases of the virus are not projected to peak until about May 1.
“So this could get worse,” Harmon said.
Harmon, on the other hand, added that positive case projections may also not be as high as originally forecast.
Johnson County Emergency Management Director Jamie Moore emphasized Harmon’s caution that the virus is not restricted to the elderly.
“Of the 20 cases reported in Johnson County only two are people over 60,” Moore said. “The youngest is 21 and the oldest is 80.”
Of those numbers one death has been reported. That person, although a resident of Johnson County, contacted the virus while on a cruise and died in San Francisco, county officials said.
Of the 20, one has since been reported as having recovered.
“The number [of positive cases] needs to be taken with a grain of salt,” Moore said. “Some people who were sick were not tested because there aren’t enough test kits yet and were told to quarantine at home instead. So we don’t know if those people had it or not. And others may have it but not show signs and not know they have it.”
Test kits, though slow in coming, are on the way and plans call for instituting drive by testing soon.
“We’re working as fast and hard as we can,” Moore said.
Johnson County Public Health Authority Robert Shaw said several county cities still have no reported cases. Cleburne has 2 and Burleson 11. Some of that, Shaw said, may be thanks to Burleson’s proximity to Fort Worth and heavy travel and interaction between residents of the two cities.
Shaw reminded that 99 percent of those who contact COVID-19 get over it and cautioned against hysteria, both on the public and media’s part, in light of the situation.
Shaw like Harmon, however, cautioned residents to treat the threat seriously by practicing proper precautions.
Commissioners will meet again at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Johnson County Courthouse.