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Galveston County plans to issue shelter-in-place order due to coronavirus

Galveston County officials plan to issue a shelter-in-place order Tuesday for all county residents due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The order - which has not yet been signed by County Judge Mark Henry or the county’s 13 mayors - was discussed Monday afternoon, Houston Latest News after the county reported six additional coronavirus cases, bringing the countywide total to 18.

Dr. Philip Keiser, the county’s local health authority, said in a statement the growing number of cases is “evidence of community spread.”



“As we look at the pattern of testing, we can assume (the virus) is everywhere,” Keiser said. “And you should assume that too.”

Santa Fe Mayor Jason Tabor first announced the countywide order on a Facebook live stream Monday evening. A county spokesman said the order is not official because it hasn’t yet been signed by the county judge and the county’s 13 mayors.

The shelter-in-place order would go into effect at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday and continue through midnight April 3. Residents can still go outside to exercise, Press Release Distribution News for example. But the order requires people using shared or outdoor spaces to maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from any person when they are outside their residence.

County residents may only leave their residence for “essential activities,” such as obtaining necessary supplies like food or household cleaning products, or seeking medical care.

The order also mandates that all businesses cease operating during this time period. “Essential businesses” - such as health-care providers, government offices and grocery stores - would remain open. Trash collectors and childcare providers would also be exempted under the order.

Additionally, Galveston County requires anyone in a household who has tested positive for coronavirus to isolate at home for 14 days until otherwise directed by the local health authority.

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