Mayor addresses Dilley on Tuesday
Dilley Mayor Mary Ann Obregon and city councilors broadcast a speech on a live internet feed Tuesday afternoon, November 17, to issue an emergency declaration and new restrictions during a community-wide surge in the number of coronavirus cases.
Mayor Obregon’s amendment and extension of the city’s declaration of a state of disaster and public health emergency states that the government believes “there is an imminent threat of injury or loss of life” from the coronavirus. The order also activates the city’s emergency management plan.
“There has been an increase in cases that have been confirmed in Frio County, and cases are expected to increase,” the mayor wrote in her proclamation. “Extraordinary measures must be taken to alleviate and prevent the suffering of people.”
The restrictions imposed by the city take effect immediately and include a curfew for all minors between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., the hours during which they would be in school;
and restricts public access to all buildings, among them City Hall, the municipal judge’s office, the police department and the public library.
Exceptions to the curfew include an allowance for students to travel to internet connection sites or wifi zones to complete their online school assignments.
Standard exceptions also remain for all those traveling to and from work or medical facilities.
City parks, ball fields and recreational facilities have also been closed, and community members are barred from gathering in any groups unless approved by the city government. Local law enforcement officers were dispatched at 3 p.m. Tuesday to evacuate all civilians from public places.
Prior to Tuesday’s order, Dilley residents were allowed to gather in groups of ten or fewer. All exemptions previously granted by the city for special functions have been revoked.
The mayor’s special order will stand for 14 days but may be amended before the end of November and is subject to extension. The city’s disaster declaration remains in place for a 30-day period.
Obregon’s announcement came within days of reports that additional students and staff at the school district had tested positive for COVID-19; test results are pending for other community members.
Frio Regional Hospital CEO John Hughson said on Monday evening that he believes there is an elevated level of risk in the community that the coronavirus may spread quickly between family members living under the same roof and said he is concerned about local residents not heeding warnings issued by governments and healthcare professionals.
The hospital that serves Pearsall and surrounding communities including Dilley is reporting an increase in its number of coronavirus patients, with seven beds currently occupied. Prior to last weekend, he said, the number was “none or one” and the hospital has begun reporting similar activity in numbers of patients from Dilley, Carrizo Springs and Crystal City.
Hughson said the hospital is reviewing its visitation policy and other practices in response to the increased number of coronavirus cases. Personal protective equipment (PPE) and other emergency supplies have been stocked, he said.