The initial COVID-19 cases began being reported in Hunt County about 10 months ago and it wasn’t long before officials with the county and the city of Greenville began to take significant steps to address the situation.
Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statewide disaster declaration concerning the pandemic on March 14, 2020, which prompted city and county officials to meet in emergency sessions and issue their own measures. Offices were closed or had access restricted and the size of gatherings was reduced as steps to help protect people from potential exposure to the virus.
County Judge Bobby Stovall said the regulations were based on federal and state health official recommendations and estimates he’d received about the situation had the virus being brought under control in six to eight weeks, which in retrospect turned out to be overly optimistic.
Hunt County, along with other surrounding counties, issued shelter-in-place orders shortly thereafter. Local businesses were instructed to follow the guidelines issued by Abbott’s office regarding closures. Residents were advised to wear masks and maintain social distancing.
Hunt County reported its first confirmed case of a patient with the COVID-19 virus, a 50-64-year-old female from the southwest corner of the county on March 24 and it wasn’t long before Stovall’s office was releasing almost daily updates from the Hunt County Health Department. Only four cases had been reported by early April, but two deaths had been counted in the county by April 14.
Several major events were canceled during 2020 because of the pandemic, including the Hunt County Fair, the July 4 and Veterans Day parades, the Summer of Safety and Halloween On The Square.
As of Jan. 6, the Texas Department of State Health Services indicated there had been close to 3,900 total COVID-19 cases in Hunt County, with 85 deaths and with 2,890 recoveries.
The first doses of COVID-19 vaccines began arriving in the county in late 2020 and hundreds of area residents were soon lining up and it was hoped the spread of the virus would be significantly curtailed during 2021.