The city of Terrell has put in place a humanitarian aid strategy for quarantined individuals, and its emergency management coordinator called it “foolish” to predict when the COVID-19 crises will end.

City Manager Mike Sims on Tuesday announced the aid program during a city council meeting. “This is a very different time in our public life,” said Sims, who added that the city is working in tandem with other agencies in addressing the coronavirus pandemic.

One feature of the aid strategy is the home delivery of groceries to a household in which someone has tested positive for coronavirus. The city is developing partnerships to help facilitate the service, according to Sims.

Sims said he believes the broad community for the most part is adhering to CDC guidelines and stay-at-home orders. As of Wednesday morning, one positive case had been reported in Terrell.  Health professionals, however, warn that there likely are far more people with the virus in the community.

“It may not look so good three weeks from now but citizens are doing great so far,” said Sims.

Mayor Rick Carmona said: “We are probably going to see more positive tests, but we want to slow the spread and minimize the spread.” Again, he urged people with symptoms of COVID-19 to stay home unless seeking medical attention.

Dustin Conner, the city’s emergency management coordinator, stressed the need to “flatten the curve” of coronavirus cases to keep the regional health system from being overwhelmed.

He predicted that Terrell would reach its peak in cases after Dallas’s cases have crested. It’s likely that people who don’t know they have the virus are going out into public, he noted. People should have the mindset that if they’ve been around people who are positive for COVID-19, they should consider themselves exposed, even if symptom-free, according to Connor.

As for when life here will return to normal, he said: “I think it’s foolish to guess and throw a time out there.”

Connor said the city is working to secure adequate personal protective equipment for its needs. First-responders will be taken care of first.

The council Tuesday extended Carmona’s March 18 public health emergency declaration and adopted all elements of Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order of April 2 that deals with essential businesses and activities.

Sims reiterated that city utility customers will be granted deferrals on outstanding bills as long as they notify the city. People with hardship cases can contact the city at utilityhardship@cityofterrell.org.

The city, Sims noted, continues to do “a lot of public messaging” and continues to prepare should Terrell experience a major outbreak of COVID-19.

The United States this week surpassed 400,000 COVID-19 cases and 13,000 deaths. The number of cases in Texas stood at 8,262 with 154 deaths as of Wednesday morning.

A listing of coronavirus related resources is available on the City of Terrell website, or call the city at 972-551-6600. You can also email the city at support@cityofterrell.org. Business-related resources are available the Terrell Chamber of Commerce website.

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