On the morning of March 24, Collin County Judge Chris Hill issued a stay-at-home order for the entire county effective immediately. Under the directive, all county residents are ordered to stay home except for travel related to essential activities. The directive advises businesses to practice social distancing and take preventative measures but does not call for any additional closures.
“I want to make it clear that all businesses, all jobs and all workers are essential to the financial health of our local economy, and therefore they’re essential to the financial health and well-being of our Collin County citizens,” Judge Hill said. “Persons who are employed need to stay employed.”
Businesses that remain open are still required to adhere to previously enacted state and local guidelines. That includes no gatherings of groups larger than 10 and keeping people at least six feet apart if possible. Restaurants will remain open for pick-up and delivery service only.
People who are sick or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms are now required to stay home for 72 hours after they are fever-free without the aid of medication. They must also stay home for 14 days after the onset of symptoms. Those living with someone who tests positive for the novel coronavirus are now required to self-quarantine for 14 days. Additionally, people who believe they are at greater risk or who think they have been compromised from exposure to COVID-19 are required to stay at home for the duration of the order.
Plano City Staff Respond to Coronavirus
Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere says the county’s declaration underscores the severity and seriousness of batting the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This has forced us to take actions that were unimaginable months, weeks and days ago,” he said. “However, these severe measures are necessary to potentially save lives. In the weeks to come, collectively, we may have to be more stringent in how we function daily in order for us to get to a better place.”
Plano city officials have established an emergency command center to deal with the crisis. They post regular updates on the city’s Facebook page including the latest virus statistics. There is also a special Coronavirus-COVID-19 section on the city’s website that addresses many common questions.
“The message for all Plano residents is to please stay home other than to conduct essential services,” LaRosiliere said. “We encourage everyone to take care of yourself. This is the best way to take care of your neighbor. We are all in this together.”
As of Tuesday morning, there were 45 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Collin County, including 16 in Plano. Three of those people are currently hospitalized. Judge Hill said he did not know how many hospital beds were available in the county. However, he said that he communicates regularly with the Collin County Health department in order to stay on top of the situation.
Plano Hospitals Respond to COVID-19
In response to the coronavirus, local hospitals have been forced to make several changes. Most non-essential procedures and surgeries have been postponed. Visitation policies have been modified to better protect patients and doctors alike.
Baylor Scott and White has set up an online hub with coronavirus information. The Children’s Health virtual app is now conducting free screenings when entering the code COVID19. Medical City has deployed an online screening assessment, while Texas Health Resources set-up a 24-hour coronavirus consumer hotline where callers can speak with a nurse.
“It is our duty to take whatever steps necessary for the safety and well-being of the people in the communities we serve and for the people who provide care to them,” Texas Health CEO Barclay Berdan said. “That means bringing the power of our entire system – all our resources – to this fight.”
Editor’s note March 25: This story has been updated with the most current information from Baylor Scott and White.