Rowlett holds virtual town hall on COVID-19

The city of Rowlett held a virtual town hall Monday night that was broadcast live on Facebook. Mayor Tammy Dana-Bashian, City Manager Brian Funderburk, Assistant Emergency Management Coordinator Ed Balderas, and  Garland Health Authority Public Health Manager Diana Beeler went over the various areas of concerns and information regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Balderas said if a Rowlett resident tested positive for COVID-19, one of the health authorities will notify the mayor and any other selected officials that there is a case or someone being monitored for COVID-19 in Rowlett.

“We are committed to being transparent with our community, and we will publish that (information) as soon as we possibly can, and we will stay discreet in regards to the information we provide,” said Dana-Bashian. “We will provide the information as allowed by HIPAA laws so we will maintain that discretion, but we will communicate with our public.”

Balderas went over the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised guidelines. It’s recommended that any gathering with 10 or more people not be held, and events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, securing hand hygiene and social distancing. When feasible, organizers could modify events to be virtual.

Dana-Bashian spoke on last Friday's disaster declaration due to the risk of rapid spread of COVID-19 and the need to protect the most vulnerable members of the community.

“This order last Friday prohibited community gatherings of 500 persons or more anywhere in Dallas County beginning at 11 a.m. on March 13 and continuing seven days through 11 a.m. on March 20,” she said.

This was an order by Dallas County that was mirrored by the city. Dallas County has since amended its order to prohibit community gatherings of 50 persons or more, and prohibiting inside dining as well as the temporary closure of bars, lounges and taverns, where 50 people or more gather in an enclosed area.

Rowlett amended the city order to comply with the amended Dallas County order. This will also affect parts of Rowlett in Rockwall County.

Dana-Bashian also announced that the city is closing the Rowlett Community Centre, the public library and Kids Kingdom.

“Specifically Kids Kingdom because that park is enclosed in a fence and likely has more than 50 individuals within that fenced-in area, so that meets the definition of the Dallas County order and the city of Rowlett order,” she said. “Other parks will remain open but please practice social distancing and hygiene at those other parks.”

All city athletic leagues will be postponed at this time.

Balderas went over the state declaration of disaster issued by Governor Greg Abbott.

“This allows for state resources to become available for regional/local response; for example, personal protective equipment for first responders. It also allows for certain state laws and regulations that may hinder our efficient response to this pandemic to be relaxed,” he said.

A national emergency declaration was also issued last Friday.

“This specific declaration allowed for $50 billion to be made available to help state and local governments to not only tackle the coronavirus pandemic but also relax against some of the rules and regulations that may hinder our ability to respond efficiently,” said Balderas.

The town hall also touched on common symptoms of COVID-19, when to seek immediate emergency care, preventative measures being taken by Baylor Scott and White at Lake Pointe, who are the at-risk populations, and more.

To watch the virtual town hall and find more local information on COVID-19, visit Rowlett.com/COVID-19.

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