I want to take some time with you to explain the reasons behind our efforts in Denton County to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus and thank you for your support and many messages of encouragement.
As your County Judge, I issued a Stay-at-Home mandate on March 24. The full Commissioners Court ratified my emergency order on March 27 and we extended it at our regular meeting on March 31 to go through April 7. We will review it every Tuesday thereafter. We are taking into account the latest information about the situation in Denton County and what we expect the situation to be in the coming weeks.
My first priority is the health and safety of all of you – almost 1 million residents in Denton County – and especially, our most vulnerable populations at risk of severe illness from this virus.
We strongly believed that our early action was the best course for you – our Denton County residents.
My fervent hope has been and continues to be that we can limit the number of individuals and families who could be tragically affected by this virus.
While we are fortunate to have among the best healthcare providers in the world here in North Texas, this pandemic could push our resources to the limit.
With your help, we can together support our medical personnel on the front lines by limiting our exposures to the virus and, thereby, community spread.
That way, when someone develops serious symptoms of COVID-19, the resources will be there to help them.
Our medical personnel cannot do it alone. They need our help and they need it now.
Plan your trips to get essentials wisely. Take the necessary precautions to keep you and your families safe. Wash your hands for 20 seconds frequently, especially when touching surfaces outside your home and before you eat. Soap and water is still the best preventive measure to take.
For those who must travel to work, we understand. All we ask is that you practice social distancing and wash your hands even more.
For those able to stay home and work, we offer our sincere appreciation to your employers.
For our retirees, please take advantage of the many services that deliver. If you need help, ask for it.
We want everyone to stay as healthy and safe as possible.
From the onset of this pandemic, we have been in communication with our partners in our communities, school districts, hospitals, chambers of commerce and other entities to coordinate efforts, provide assistance where needed and to plan ahead for any future outcomes.
In short, we are working together to ensure you – the public – get the help you need when you need it.
We need your help as well.
The stay-at-home mandate is going to take time to be effective. We must be patient and willing to follow these mandates as community spread continues.
What we are experiencing now has not happened since the 1918 Spanish Flu.
Our way of life has changed dramatically in the past century, so much that the measures we are implementing seem even more drastic.
History tells us that staying at home and practicing social distancing worked in 1918 and we believe the same will be true in 2020.
I want to do everything in my power to reduce the potential for COVID-19 deaths in Denton County, and the negative impacts to the livelihoods of those who call Denton County home.
I truly believe all of you want the same.
We are very fortunate to be part of such a caring community of people in Denton County willing to help others.
We have local businesses changing their production lines to provide necessities for our medical providers and first responders.
A Lewisville sofa company switched from making sofas to making masks. A Denton costume retailer is also constructing masks. A local distillery stopped liquor production to use their stills to create sanitizer.
Many of our grocery stores, pharmacies and restaurants have developed unique ways to provide services. Grocery stores are offering seniors-only shopping hours, pharmacies are ramping up curbside pickup and restaurants added delivery and curbside services for everyone’s safety.
Churches and religious organizations across our county quickly adapted to online services. Faith is important to many of you and I encourage you to continue that connection now more than ever.
Our school districts closed schools quickly and have indicated plans to keep them closed at least through May 4.
Law enforcement and other personnel in our communities have worked closely with us to help ensure the mandatory stay-at-home order is followed and that non-essential businesses are closing.
Residents are signing up on our Denton County website, dentoncounty.gov, and via email to volunteer their time to help in the battle against COVID-19.
United Way of Denton County and other non-profits are working tirelessly to provide resources and assistance.
People are checking in with their friends and neighbors.
I also want to recognize and sincerely thank those who have felt the brunt of the stay at home mandate, knowing your concerns of being unable to work. We are closely watching the trends and have started developing a plan to bring businesses back online to get the local Denton County economy back to work as soon as it is safe to do so.
In many ways, you are taking the initiative to help all of us get through this trying time together.
It is exactly why I feel so privileged to be part of Denton County as your judge, neighbor, friend and fellow resident.
We are, collectively, a community that cares.
It is hard to find the right words to convey my deepest appreciation to all of you. Know that it comes from my heart.
Together, we are #DentonCountyStrong.
If you have any questions or comments, please let me hear from you. My email is [email protected], and my office number is 940-349-2820.