Val Verde County

Val Verde County Judge Lewis G. Owens Jr. said Tuesday household members of someone with a positive COVID-19 test must stay home.

Owens made his remarks during Tuesday’s November regular term meeting of Val Verde County Commissioners Court.

At the start of the meeting, Owens commented, “The coronavirus, I guess it was January when we started hearing about it. Whoever thought that it would be in the United States, then in Texas, then in Del Rio? And then seven or eight months into it, we’re still wearing masks. It’s unbelievable,” he said.

Later in the meeting, during a discussion of “matters related to COVID-19,” Owens noted the county’s “numbers have started to go up.”

He said he has discussed the current rise in positive COVID cases with Val Verde County/City of Del Rio Local Health Authority Dr. J. Gutierrez and other members of the COVID task force, but noted the current rise can’t be specifically pinned on one event or activity.

“We’ve had phone calls, ‘Well, you opened the bars,’ but we really can’t trace it to say that we’ve had cases from bars. One of the things we’re looking into right now is that we have people who are sick, and people from those households are still going out. That’s how it’s being spread right now,” Owens said.

“If you’re sick, everybody in your house is supposed to stay in your house,” the judge added.

If a household member comes down with COVID-19, the judge said, “You have to go home and stay home and stay away from other people. If you’re sick, stay home, and your family members need to stay home, too.”

The local health authority told Del Rio City Council members Tuesday the number one form of current COVID transmission is between family members.

“Our numbers, again, are growing, but again, it’s because people that have it, their family members are still going out into the community,” Owens said.

“How many active cases do we have right now?” County Commissioner Pct. 4 Gustavo “Gus” Flores asked.

Owens replied he did not have the exact number in front of him, but noted local cases are right at a rate of 20 to 30 per day.

“Thank God we’re not having 70 or 80 (per day) like we did in June,” Owens said.

County Attorney Ana Markowski Smith interjected the local health authority had reported a total of 267 active cases as of Tuesday, with 54 new cases reported on Monday.

“They’re having issues with people who have been told to stay home who are not staying home. That’s the problem, and the family members, we just can’t get them to stay home,” Owens told Flores.

Owens also brought up a similar problems happening in the school district, adding he was not “throwing rocks at the school district.”

Parents who are sick with COVID-19 continue to send their children to school, he charged.

“Parents are sick, and now they’re sending two, three, four, five kids to school, and then wonder how come the rest of the class gets sick,” Owens said.