The Steel Country Bee is committed to assisting our readers through the best of times and the worst times. To that end, we have gathered information regarding Covid-19 procedures and protocols.

  • Several action suggestions include Social Distancing by maintaining at least 6 feet from other individuals you come in contact with as well as avoiding large gatherings.
  • Morris County Judge Doug Reeder said in statement that as of today (March 18) there are no cases of Covid-19, either presumptive or positive, in Morris County.
  • You are urged to check with your personal physician if you are not feeling well. Your physician can direct you with regard to testing if they feel it is necessary.


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Morris County Judge Doug Reeder has issued a Local Disaster Declaration amid Covid-19 concerns. All Morris County gamerooms to close at 11:59 p.m. March 20.

I was informed by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) late Sunday afternoon that a resident of Morris County has tested positive for the coronavirus. The DSHS is taking all necessary actions in response to this matter. Morris County is just one of dozens of other counties in the state that are dealing with a positive case of the virus. At this time more than 43 other counties in Texas have positive cases of the coronavirus. While there is no cause for panic, it does underscore the need to take this medical emergency serious. I urge everyone to continue to be vigilant in following the guidelines issued by the federal, state, and local governments, including the following:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
• Stay home as much as possible, especially if you are sick, older, and/or have a medical condition.
• If you are sick, stay home except to access medical care. If you are able to take care of yourself, stay home. If you need to see your doctor, call ahead.
• Avoid gatherings of more than 10 people and non-essential trips into public.
• Cancel events of more than 10 people.
• Limit close contact (at least six feet) with other people. Employers should allow alternative work options as much as possible.

The County Judge's office and the Emergency Management Coordinator continue to work diligently to prepare for and respond to this event. We are also working hard to provide everyone with the most accurate and current information available to us.

Thank you for your help and understanding.

Doug Reeder
Morris County Judge

Click here to read the full declaration or to subscribe.

The University of Texas Health System in Tyler has a policy for patients in regard to Covid-19.

Patients are screened in their emergency rooms or clinics for signs and symptoms associated with COVID-19 (coronavirus). If clinical staff has ruled out influenza and strep throat, the current protocol from local county health districts is for the UT-Health team to contact them for a determination of further COVID-19 testing. If the local health district advises further testing, samples are sent to a lab for testing. There are public and private labs currently conducting COVID analysis. This includes the Public Health Lab of East Texas (PHLET).

Titus Regional Medical Center recently implemented a policy today, March 18, to help slow the spread of the virus.

"Today, we began a screening process at each entry point. If you visit any TRMC location, you will be asked a series of screening questions and have a temperature check before entering.
Our visitation hours will now be from 7am to 7pm only and the lobby and main entrances will be locked outside of these visitation hours. The Emergency Room will continue to serve you 24 hours a day.
We will have limited visitation to the Patient Tower. To see a full list of visitation restrictions and procedures, please visit our website https://www.titusregional.com/covid19/ before you visit a patient in the upcoming days."

Click here to visit their website

School Closures

Currently, all three local schools-Daingerfield-Lone Star ISD (www.dlsisd.org), Hughes Springs ISD (www.hsisd.net), and Paul H. Pewitt Consolidated ISD (www.pewittcisd.net) - have plans to remain out until April 1. The plan will be re-evaluated closer to the April 1 return date. Each district has a plan implemented to distribute work packets, as well as lunches, to students. Please refer to each district's website or Facebook page for more district-specific information.

Click here for more information on how to keep your family safe

More Resources

At the moment, there are two components to qualify for an SBA loan.

First, counties in Texas must meet an economic impact threshold for businesses within those counties to become eligible for loans. Once a county is certified by SBA, then businesses within that county can become eligible for the loans. I've outlined the two steps Texas businesses in need should take below.

1. Register with the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM): The SBA has designated COVID-19 as a qualifying event for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) for businesses and private non-profits in affected communities. Before a business can become eligible to receive funds, the county in which it resides must first meet an economic impact threshold. The Governor's Office and TDEM are currently working with SBA to qualify counties for this declaration, and we expect it will happen soon. To help that process, Texans should register with TDEM here.

2. Apply for an SBA loan: Once Texas counties are certified by the SBA (stemming from step #1 above), qualified businesses that have applied will be eligible to start receiving funds. You can apply for an SBA loan here. SBA's factsheet on SBA Disaster Loan Assistance is below, and a step-by-step process for business owners in both English and Spanish is attached. For additional information, I encourage you to visit the SBA website.

Federal Disaster Loans for Businesses, Private Nonprofits, Home Owners, and Renters

Apply for A Disaster Loan
You can apply online for all types of SBA disaster assistance loans. The online application is the fastest method to receive a decision about your loan eligibility. You have the option of submitting a paper application by mail. For either application, you must submit the completed loan application and a signed and dated IRS Form 4506-T giving permission for the IRS to provide SBA your tax return information.

You may also apply in person at any Disaster Recovery Center and receive personal, one-on-one help from an SBA representative. For information or to find a location near you, please contact our Customer Service Center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

The Three-Step Process: Disaster Loans
After a Presidential disaster declaration, you must first register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). To obtain a registration number, call FEMA at 1-800-621-3362 (TTY: 1-800-462-7585) or visit DisasterAssistance.gov.

The following information is required to complete the SBA online application:
· Contact information for all applicants
· Social security numbers for all applicants
· FEMA registration number
· Deed or lease information
· Insurance information
· Financial information (e.g. income, account balances and monthly expenses)
· Employer Identification Number (EIN) for business applicants