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Fort Worth declares Public Health Emergency due to COVID-19

The City of Fort Worth declared a State of Emergency today due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation. The declaration is effective at 12:01 a.m. March 14, 2020 and will be in place through March 21, 2020. It is contemplated that the City Council will vote in the coming week to extend the declaration past March 21.

This action follows the identification of two COVID-19 cases in Tarrant County.

“Today, we joined the County and the State in declaring a state of emergency in Fort Worth. This proactive decision was made under the advice of health experts and in an effort to reduce the community spread,” Mayor Betsy Price said. “We are working with all our hospital systems, emergency medical personnel, Medstar and all public safety personnel to coordinate our efforts. Through the cooperation of residents listening closely to our public health experts and practice social distancing protocols, we can reduce our risks.”

At this time, it is believed that the virus is easily transmitted through person-to-person contact, especially in group settings, and it is essential we work to slow transmission to the greatest extent possible.

“We strongly recommend social distancing as a way to prevent the spread of the virus in group settings,” said Brandon Bennett, Fort Worth health director. “Any gatherings smaller than 250 people should take extra precautions to practice social distancing and ideally cancel any public gatherings that are not absolutely critical.”

Because of the risk of the rapid spread of the virus and the need to protect the most vulnerable members of the community, the city has taken these actions:

  • City-organized -produced and -permitted meetings, events and programs will be postponed or canceled through March 31.
  • Until further notice, within the City of Fort Worth there is a mandatory cancellation of any events or gatherings with expected attendance of 250 people or more.
  • We are also closing all city community centers and libraries to the public from 6 p.m. on Friday, March 13, through March 29. The closure will be re-evaluated at that time and employees will be notified.
  • Public buildings that include libraries and community centers will be closed.
  • All critical city services and emergency services will be operating as usual.

“Fort Worth continues to address the current situation and we will continue to meet the challenge of COVID-19,” said Mayor Price.

As of 6 p.m. on March 13, 2020, Tarrant County Public Health has identified three presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Tarrant County. “Presumptive positive” means the test results have not been verified by the CDC.

Prevention Tips

Although there is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, the best way to prevent infection is to take these precautions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
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