New numbers released by the Liberty County Office of Emergency Management show Liberty County has 14 additional deaths related to COVID-19. That brings the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in Liberty County to 17.
A delay in reporting from the Texas Department of State Health Services is the reason for the sudden surge in numbers, according to Liberty County Judge Jay Knight. The judge has suspected for a few weeks that Liberty County would see such a surge. Two of the deceased were personal friends of his and were not previously reported because they died in Harris County.
“Liberty County residents who went to Harris County for treatment and passed away in Harris County will eventually be listed as Liberty County deaths, but it takes some time for DSHS to catch up,” Knight said. “DSHS is handling the response for the entire state and they are covered up with cases.”
To date, 6,000 people have been tested for COVID-19 at testing sites in Liberty, Dayton and Cleveland, though some of the people were from neighboring counties. Of those tested, 702 Liberty County residents were confirmed for COVID-19. Of the 702 cases, 417 people are recovered and 268 are active cases.
As of Monday, 29 new cases were added for Liberty County – 16 from the north end of the county and 13 from the south end. Thirteen of the new cases are male and 14 are female. See the attached chart below for more information on the ages of the most recent victims.
A statewide mask order is still in effect for Texas that requires masks to be worn over the mouth and nose in all public places in counties with 20 or more positive cases of COVID-19. While Liberty County does not have a separate mask order as the state’s order would supersede the county, the mayors of Liberty, Dayton and Cleveland all signed an order requiring a mask policy for commercial entities that provide goods and services directly to the public. The policy must be posted at the entrances to the business and fines of $500 per violation may be assessed.
“There is some indication that the masks are helping. Hopefully the masks will cut down on the chances of the illness being spread to anyone else,” Knight said.
To avoid the spread of the disease, the judge says Liberty County residents should continue using safe practices, such as wearing a mask in public areas, washing hands frequently, social distancing whenever possible and avoiding large gatherings of 10 or more people.