The response to the Coronavirus  has been varied and widespread both on the national level and the local level.

The local response has already begun with the lockdown procedures put into play late last week.

At least three local nursing homes and the UT-Health sponsored hospital have put restrictions into place.

Administrator Zach Allen of Henderson Health and Rehab Center made a statement Thursday.

“We have slowly ramped up effective over night,” he said. “We are only going to let in medical staff. There will be no visitation, and most of the families are taking it fine. We’re all in this together.”

Autumn Leaves Administrator Marla Sers echoed those previous comments.

“We have (begun shutdown). At the beginning we began monitoring, we sent out questionnaires (to the families) and have begun assessments,” she said. “We have shutdown, and we are requesting not to have visitors. We have talked to residents and talked to responsible parties. They are supportive.”

Brookdale, which is owned corporately, sent out a statement to questions about their procedures.

“Brookdale is taking precautionary measures, following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which has released guidelines for employers and businesses to contain the spread of the virus. Brookdale’s number one priority is the health and safety of our residents, patients, and associates,” the release said.

“We have suspended Brookdale sponsored/planned group outings and suspended groups of three or more coming into the community (other than sales tours or family or third party medical/clinical providers),” said.


City and Rusk County Facilities

The city of Henderson put out a release via social media late Thursday afternoon. In part, it read:

“In response to the threat of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the City of Henderson will suspend all public events in city parks and facilities for two weeks effective immediately. This will include events at facilities such as Henderson Civic Center, Henderson Fire Department Conference Room, Henderson Police Department Conference and Training Rooms, Henderson Community Center and all park pavilions,” it said.

“The city of Henderson will continue to monitor the situation and will notify residents and visitors of any extension of these suspensions and/or facility closures,” the release said.

Regular council and board meetings will continue on their regular schedules.

County leaders as of early Friday morning have not made a decision on Rusk County facilities such as The Rusk County Youth Expo Center. 

“There is nothing on the youth expo right now,” said Rusk County Joel Hale. 

“There is a good possibility that we’re going to shut down non-essential facilities, but that’s not been decided yet.”


Local/County Schools

Henderson ISD posted on its website a message from Superintendent Dr. Thurston Lamb.

“Out of an abundance of caution and concern for the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, and families, Henderson ISD will extend its spring break by 5 days for staff and 6 days for students. For now, HISD teachers and staff should plan on returning to work on Monday, March 23, and students will return to school on Tuesday, March 24.”

Mt. Enterprise ISD’s Byron Jordan issued a statement late last week.

“As you are aware, the Coronavirus is rapidly moving across our country.  It’s affecting many lives, programs and institutions. As of this writing (Thursday, March 12 at 1:15 p.m.), an individual in Longview and Tyler has tested positive for this dreaded virus. Many colleges and universities have extended spring break for a week and are moving to online classes after that for a week or two,” he said.

For MEISD and other public schools in Texas, the Texas Education Agency has NOT sent out a communiqué to close schools or extend spring of this writing. As of now (and I say again, as of now), MEISD and other surrounding schools will have school on Monday.”

Overton and West Rusk announced late Friday afternoon they have also delayed students from returning from spring break.

The county school districts of Carlisle, Laneville and Tatum have not posted on social media or reached out to The Henderson News about any potential plans of delaying the return from spring break.

Editor’s Note: The Henderson New will be posting and maintaining a cancelation report on its website and make changes for the Sunday and Wednesday editions of The Henderson News as they happen.

We encourage all governmental entities and the public to pass along information as it becomes available. 

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