Sunday, October 1, 2023

‘This is the week’ to pre-quarantine, county officials say

Image courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control

With Thanksgiving coming next week, the time is now to “pre-quarantine” to keep you and your loved ones safe on Turkey Day, according to Denton County officials.

COVID-19 cases are surging locally and nationally. There are 3,958 active cases in the county, up from the summer peak of 3,091 cases. Coronavirus hospitalizations are also higher than they were all spring and summer, and some local school districts are reporting significantly higher positive cases on their campus than the weeks before.

During Tuesday’s Denton County Commissioners Court meeting, Denton County Public Health Director Dr. Matt Richardson said he sees Halloween as a big contributor to the second wave.

“We’ve interviewed … community members, and many admitted to large gatherings on Halloween, and they were sick days later,” Richardson said. “That happened. These large gatherings are starting to show, just what we’ve always known, that’s risk.”

Denton County Judge Andy Eads, who recently recovered from COVID-19 himself, said local families should not treat this Thanksgiving like any other.

“This is no time to gather large groups of separate households under one roof for extended periods of time in up-close quarters,” Eads said.

The county has several recommendations for how to celebrate the holiday safely, firstly that people give themselves and others “permission to do it differently this year,” Richardson said. The county recommends families spend as much of their Thanksgiving outside as possible, where the risk of spreading the virus is lower. Richardson encouraged people to get tested before Thanksgiving, and he recommended a “self-imposed quarantine” from now until next Thursday to reduce chance of exposure and spread.

Tuesday, Nov. 17

“I am imploring the public — this is the week — limit interactions with large groups,” Richardson said. “Wear your mask, wash your hands, and maybe, just maybe, we can keep our families safe.”

DCPH is providing a free drive-thru COVID-19 testing center in Denton on Friday at the North Central Texas College Exchange parking garage, 318 East Sycamore St., beginning at 8 a.m. Eligible community members must reside in Denton County, pre-register by calling 940-349-2585, and have not previously tested positive for COVID-19.

To minimize spread of COVID-19, DCPH urges all community members to:

  • Maintain at least six feet of physical distance in public settings and when around individuals outside of the household
  • Wear masks or face coverings, which should cover both the nose and mouth, in public settings and when around individuals outside of the household
  • Wash and/or sanitize hands frequently
  • Stay home if you are symptomatic, have recently had close contact with a person with COVID-19, or have pending COVID-19 lab results

For additional COVID-19 data including active case information by municipality, hospital capacity, and ventilator utilization, visit For information regarding DCPH’s upcoming testing centers, visit For additional COVID-19 health and safety recommendations, visit

Mark Smith
Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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