First county case confirmed; schools closing until May 4
The first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Wood County on Tuesday afternoon by county Emergency Management Coordinator Tully Davidson. The patient was being treated at UT Health in Quitman and became ill through community spread.
County school superintendents, who closed schools through Friday, April 3, had planned an announcement on Wednesday, but Tuesday afternoon they said they would remain closed through at least Friday, May 1.
Neighboring Smith County to the south initiated a Stay-at-Home advisory late last week as the number of cases there rose to 32, including the first death along with a second death in Van Zandt County to the west.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott added more restrictions last week but did not issue a stay-at-home order statewide, preferring to let local officials make that call.
Wood County remains under the county judge’s disaster declaration, the primary impacts which reflect the governor’s order to close schools, limit restaurants to carry-out, limit groups and practice social distancing.
Other Texas school districts had already lengthened closures by one to two weeks or indefinitely.
The University Interscholastic League made no changes to its decision to resume sanctioned competitions no sooner than May 4, with time to acclimate.
Among the most recent events canceled locally was the Soup and Sermon lunches during Holy Week, put on by the Mineola Ministerial Alliance. It was slated all next week.
The Rev. Paul Thomason, with First United Methodist in Mineola, said the continued call for social distancing has also meant that traditional Easter services will give way to online versions.
Many other churches are following a similar model, with First Baptist in Mineola holding a drive up service last Sunday as parishioners remained in their vehicles.
The Mineola Fire Dept. also announced it is canceling the annual benefit rodeo in mid-July.
Local governments continue to restrict the public from facilities such as city halls and the county courthouse.
The following events and venues remain canceled, postponed or closed:
The Wood County Junior Livestock Show scheduled April 2-4 has been postponed two weeks, with broilers to show on April 8. If another postponement is needed it will be delayed two more weeks, and if needed, another decision to be made at that time.
The Wine Train April 4-5 from Mineola to Fort Worth and back aboard the Amtrak train has been canceled.
The City of Mineola workforce development workshop April 8 has been canceled.
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.
Bread of Life Ministries food pantry in Mineola is closed until further notice.
Mineola Youth Foundation has closed the ballpark until further notice.
Mineola Friends of the Library book sale canceled for March.
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. Carson and Barnes Circus April 2 canceled.
Historic Select Theater and Lake Country Playhouse 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.
Local service and civic clubs and organizations have suspended meetings.
Major retailers have temporarily adjusted store hours to allow additional time for restocking and cleaning and allowing special times for senior citizens to shop. Some restaurants have added to-go and/or delivery services with the end of on-site dining after March 20.