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Southeast Texas judges, leaders unite to issue safety plea as Thanksgiving approaches

Local officials and health professionals from seven different regions came together to show a unified front, educating people on COVID-19 ahead of the holidays.

BEAUMONT, Texas — Southeast Texas leaders came together Wednesday to share their concerns as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches.

The main concern right now is the rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. While we are seeing them go up, two county judges said they are not going to shut down but are asking the public to listen to the experts.

Local officials and health professionals from seven different regions came together to show a unified front. While the focus of Wednesday’s news conference was to educate people on COVID-19 safety this Thanksgiving holiday, county leaders also shared trends they're seeing within their county.

But will these spikes cause another shutdown? "I want us to do everything we can to avoid that," Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick said.

Judge Branick said he isn't considering a lockdown at this time, and Hardin County Judge Wayne Mcdaniel is in agreement.

"When you go out in public and you run into someone else and I think they are selfish if they won't do what is being asked of them then just avoid them and turn away," Judge McDaniel said.

"I don't ever want to see people's livelihoods in jeopardy because some of us are, I guess selfishly, opinionated," Judge Branick said.

The news conference got a bit intense for a moment after people showed up pressing county and health leaders on the mask mandate.

"The virus comes in and out. They are too small. Some do, some do not," said an attendee at the press conference.

But Judge Branick shut it down. "Believe what you want to believe. I understand what you believe but we are not going to sit here and have a public argument," Judge Branick said.

Some judges were not in attendance because they were in quarantine after a possible exposure.

If you are planning to get together for the holidays, make sure you are following the CDC guidelines.

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