BEAUMONT, Texas — In a move that signaled the cancellation of the South Texas State Fair, the Jefferson County Judge signed a disaster declaration for the county Friday afternoon.
Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick signed the disaster declaration related to the coronavirus at 1:40 p.m. after returning early from a vacation.
Branick cited "health information" of residents who have returned to the county after being on a cruise the Beaumont Enterprise reported Friday.
The move comes after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared a statewide public health disaster over coronavirus Friday.
When Branick signed the declaration, it allowed the county to cancel some events and close county-owned venues like the fairgrounds and Ford Park.
The YMBL South Texas State Fair is held at both venues.
Jefferson County was obligated by contract to allow the fair to go on at the county-owned fairgrounds at Ford Park YMBL fair vice chairman Dohn LaBiche told 12News earlier this week.
A disaster declaration for the county allows changes to that contract.
Earlier this week, LaBiche told 12News YMBL had no plans to cancel the fair but were keeping their eye on the situation.
“We’re there to follow what the state, what our local health department, what the CDC says that we should do and we’re still hopeful that we can have our fair,” LaBiche told 12News on Wednesday.
Labiche told 12News the YMBL board would be meeting about the issue Thursday night and over this weekend.
Texas currently has 39 confirmed cases of COVID-19. None of those cases have come from the Golden Triangle.
About 220 Texans have been tested for the virus, and 75 are currently being tested.
The symptoms of coronavirus are similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80-percent of the cases there were mild.
But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk.
The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.
Lower your risk
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.