Coronavirus

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Comal County announced its third coronavirus case on Saturday afternoon with officials saying that this one, like the first announced, appears to be travel related.

The patient has self-quarantined since returning. Comal County has now had 47 total tests reported with three of them being positive.

Comal County Commissioners will meet twice this week, with Tuesday’s session dealing with the response to the virus.

County Judge Sherman Krause said they will discuss and consider approving extending the county’s disaster order issued March 18, and then meet in executive session to discuss how legislation in the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act might impact county offices.

The emergency declaration issued last week is only good for seven days, unless it’s extended by commissioners,” Krause said. “It will be in effect until it is cancelled by the (commissioners) court.”

Krause said the county’s district attorney’s and human resources offices will review guidelines in the federal coronavirus act President Donald Trump signed into law last Wednesday.

The measure creates a new emergency paid sick leave benefit that allows workers up to two weeks of paid leave at 100% of wages if they have coronavirus symptoms, become subject to federal state or local quarantine or advised to self-quarantine, or need to provide coronavirus-related care to a child or family member. It grants an additional 10 weeks of leave at two-thirds wages to those needing childcare as a result of school closures.

“They will update us on what the county will be required to do and what we do for employees who meet certain criteria,” Krause said. “We won’t be taking action on that; it’s only an update.”

On Thursday, commissioners will consider approving a change order for the Landa Building project, which will extend its completion date by two weeks. It addresses various construction needs, with $55,206 in extra costs coming from county contingency in the project. Krause said the order, dated March 20, extends projected completion from April 3 to April 17.

Commissioners will vote to approve insurance associated with the project, and extend the county’s lease of New Braunfels’ city facilities at 424. S. Castell Avenue, temporary home to some county departments during downtown office renovations.

Also Thursday, after entertaining comments from citizens and reports from county staffers and elected officials on items of community interest, commissioners will also discuss and consider approving:

• Acceptance of a surety rider and other agreements associated with a one-year extension for construction of roads within Precinct 15A, Unit 2 of the Veramendi subdivision.

• Accept roadway materials through the Texas Department of Transportation’s local government assistance program.

• Treasurer’s and tax assessor-collector’s monthly reports for February 2020; two refunds of ad valorem tax overpayments or overpayments in excess of $2,500.

• Agreements extending Precinct 4 constable’s office and sheriff’s office law enforcement patrols within the Comal County Water Oriented Recreation District; 

• A memorandum of understanding for annual cybersecurity training with the Caldwell, Hays and Comal Community Supervision and Corrections Department; accept the department’s financial statements for the fiscal year ending Aug. 31, 2018.

• Updates to county computer network access and password policies; a line-item budget transfer for additional expenses in upgrading county fiber internet access. 

Commissioners will meet at 8:30 a.m. both days in Commissioners Courtroom, 100 Main Plaza in New Braunfels. For meeting videos and agendas, visit www.co.comal.tx.us/agenda.htm.

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