TEXARKANA, Texas/Louisiana (KTAL/KMSS) — Bowie County Judge Bobby Howell has issued a shelter-in-place order, effective at 11:59 p.m. Friday until April 12.
The order comes following the confirmation of three cases of the coronavirus in the county. Howell noted that, while there are relatively few cases in the area, it is a regional shopping center and within 70 miles of Shreveport in Caddo Parish, where there are well over 100 confirmed cases.
The Bowie County shelter-in-place order means travel will be restricted unless it is to work, the pharmacy, grocery store, or a gas station.
“This decision was not made lightly, and I realize there is an additional economic impact to our community,” said Howell. “If we don’t do it right now, it will just get worse and it will last longer.”
Howell also expressed concern that the local health care facilities will get overwhelmed if they don’t take steps to slow the spread of the virus.
Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott has declined to implement a statewide stay-at-home order, leaving the decision to local leaders.
Miller County Judge Cathy Harrison said she doesn’t currently support a stay-at-home order in that county, but that they are working on setting up a drive-through testing center in Texarkana, Arkansas and will let the public know details when they are available.
As of the last report at 11 a.m. Thursday from the Texas Department of State Health Services, there was one confirmed case of COVID-19 in Bowie County and one in Cass County. The state is updating those numbers daily by 12 p.m. Central time.
As of 11:40 a.m. Friday, there were no positive tests reported in Miller County or Little River County, according to the Arkansas Department of Health. 1-4 positive cases are reported in Sevier, Howard, and Columbia Counties.
City leaders on both sides of the state line announced a mandatory curfew Wednesday in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus and for the safety of the community.
Under the curfew, everyone is required to be in the house from 10:00 p.m. – 6:00 a.m. unless traveling to and from work, the hospital, medical appointments, or the pharmacy.
The curfew is set to remain in effect until further notice.