County has 4th case; stay-at-home continues

Schools remain shut to slow virus spread

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Wood County recorded its second and third cases of COVID-19 on Sunday and fourth on Tuesday as the county entered its second week under a stay-at-home order.

The county’s first case of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus was reported on Tuesday, March 31 – the same day that all Wood County public schools announced they would remain closed until at least May 4.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced the school closings as part of his expanded order that day.

On Wednesday, County Judge Lucy Hebron expanded the Wood County disaster declaration to include a stay-at-home advisory, restricting residents to their homes unless involved in an essential activity.

The judge’s full order, including a comprehensive list of essential businesses and activities, can be found at mywoodcounty.com.

The second and third cases were confirmed by the Northeast Texas Health District, which is the public health authority for Wood County and several surrounding counties.

In a social media post, Hebron said both patients were under home isolation, and no other information was available.

“It is becoming evident that Wood County will be reporting additional cases (as reported by NET Health) as soon as we get accurate information,” she added.

Mineola City Manager Mercy Rushing confirmed to the city council Monday that one of the patients is from Mineola.

Other county officials moved to further restrict public access to county offices, which had been offering limited services.

Access to playground equipment at public parks was also restricted. Parks generally remained open, but any equipment was roped off.

Park use and other recreation is allowed as long as physical distancing is maintained.

Schools continued to adapt their models for meal service, with each district offering a slightly different version of free meals during the school week for all children 18 and younger living in the district.

Schools also continued working through the challenges of stay-at-home learning with a variety of methods for those students unable to access the Internet.

The University Interscholastic League adjusted its status, as it had initially restricted all competitions until at least May 4. That won’t be possible with school and all related activities postponed until at least that date, so the UIL stated that it will continue to monitor the situation since activities could not resume until students have sufficient time to re-acclimate.

Mineola High School announced its April 18 prom was postponed. Quitman previously canceled its prom, scheduled in March.

Some schools also moved to alternative grading models in light of the pandemic.

The following events have been canceled or postponed:

The Mineola Fire Dept. rodeo scheduled in mid-July has been canceled. The department cited challenges for business sponsors among the reasons.

The Wood County Junior Livestock Show scheduled April 2-4 has been moved to an online model with students sending in two-minutes videos displaying their animals by April 13. The poultry show was held online last week.

The Alba City Council meeting April 6 was postponed and the council plans to take up city business at the next regular meeting date May 4.

The annual Farm and Ranch Day for special kids that was planned April 24 in Golden has been canceled.

Mineola League of the Arts is closed and all events canceled until at least April 7. The annual Art Show has been rescheduled for Sept. 11.

The Easter mini-train in Mineola Iron Horse Square April 11 is canceled.

APET-SPCA animal rescue in Mineola is closed until further notice.

Bread of Life Ministries food pantry in Mineola is closed until further notice.

Mineola Youth Foundation has closed the ballpark until further notice and delayed the season.

Quitman Youth Foundation spring ball season is on hold.

Alba-Golden Youth Foundation ball season is on hold.

Mineola Soccer Association youth season is on hold.

Quitman Public Library closed to the public.

Mineola library programs canceled and library closed.

Forever Young Activity Center in Quitman closed until further notice.

Alba library and museum closed until further notice.

The Mineola Historical Museum is closed until further notice.

Mineola Civic Center - Meredith Hall closed (except for MISD students using Internet access). Outdoor spaces remain open but playground and courts closed. Gates locked at night.

Playgrounds in all Mineola city parks are closed. Nature Preserve and Peterson Park open spaces remain acceessible.

Historic Select Theater and Lake Country Playhouse have suspended operations until further notice.

Mineola Railers square dancers have suspended activities.

Wood County Arboretum in Quitman, mini-workshops canceled but the gardens remain open.

Check with individual churches to learn their plans. Most have moved to online services.

Local service and civic clubs and organizations have suspended meetings. Lake Fork Lions have canceled their May 9 fish fry.

The Yantis Catfish Classic benefitting the Yantis Fire Dept. has been postponed until October.

Highway 80 garage sale in mid-April is canceled.

Major retailers have adjusted store hours to allow additional time for restocking and cleaning and allowing special times for senior citizens and first responders/medical personnel to shop. Some restaurants have added to-go and/or delivery services with the end of onsite dining after March 20.

Wood County district court trials have been canceled until at least May 1. County court is suspending all non-essential hearings until May 8.

Mineola, Quitman and Yantis ISDs and the city of Quitman have postponed the May elections until November. The primary runoff has been postponed until July 14.

The annual child abuse awareness candlelight vigil April 21 has been postponed.

Master Gardeners garden tour May 2 is canceled.

The Memorial Day ceremony at the veterans memorial at the county courthouse May 25 has been canceled.

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