Breckenridge Texan

Two County offices closed as active COVID-19 cases reach highest level yet

Two County offices closed as active COVID-19 cases reach highest level yet
January 04
21:24 2021

By Tony Pilkington and Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

A Breckenridge man was flown 500 miles to New Mexico — the closest hospital with an available ICU bed — after his COVID-19 case got dramatically worse today, and two Stephens County offices are closed due to employees having COVID-19. At least two other offices at the courthouse are only open intermittently as employees try to help out elsewhere, as well as deal with everyday business while short-staffed.

As the Breckenridge Texan reported this morning, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus continues to affect many aspects of life in Breckenridge and Stephens County. Today, 52-year-old Alfredo Duran, who has COVID-19, was flown from Breckenridge to Las Cruces, New Mexico, the closest location of an ICU bed, County Judge Michael Roach said, adding that he had talked to the family and they gave him permission to mention Duran’s name.

“His family told me it happened really fast,” Roach said. “He went from being sick to critical in a very short period of time.”

At the Stephens County Courthouse, the Tax Office and the County Clerk’s Office are closed temporarily. The Tax Office was closed on Wednesday, Dec. 30, and will remain closed through Tuesday, Jan. 5. When the Tax Office re-opens on Wednesday, Jan. 6, it will be open only from 8 a.m. to noon because of the limited staff; the tax deadlines have been extended until Jan. 11. One employee has COVID-19, and another has tested positive for both COVID-19 and the flu. Both have COVID-19 symptoms, Roach said.

Additionally, an employee in the County Clerk’s Office has tested positive for COVID-19 and another employee has symptoms and is in quarantine awaiting test results.

The Justice of the Peace office is open reduced hours because an employee there has tested positive for the disease, and the Commissioner’s Court office is open limited hours because the staff is helping in other parts of the courthouse.

Roach said the District Clerk’s office and the County Attorney’s office are both open regular hours. However, both office have strict guidelines in place, and visitors to those office must wear masks and practice social distancing.

Today, Stephens County hit the highest number of current, positive cases — 65 — according to information from Stephens Memorial Hospital. The hospital’s COVID-19 report shows 27 new cases since Thursday, Dec. 31.

According to the latest report from Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene, the number of COVID-19 patients out of total hospital capacity for Trauma Service Area D (TSA-D), as reported by the State, dropped slightly to 20.99 percent. However, the area, including Stephens County, will remain under restrictive orders from Gov. Greg Abbott until the area’s COVID-19 hospitalizations drop below 15 percent of total capacity and stays below 15 percent for seven consecutive days.

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