Texas county warns of arrests for COVID-19 positive residents who don’t self-isolate

Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 3:41 AM CDT
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BROOKS COUNTY, Texas (Gray News) - To stop the spread of the coronavirus, officials in a South Texas county are promoting face masks, social distancing and frequent handwashing, but they also warn those who have tested positive for the virus and don’t self-isolate may be arrested.

Brooks County Attorney David Garcia warned in a July 4 post on Facebook that residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 should stay home except to receive medical care. He said that failure to do so may result in an arrest.

Garcia cited Texas Penal Code 22.05 (a) in his post, which states “a person commits an offense if he recklessly engages in conduct that places another in imminent danger of serious bodily injury.”

Garcia encouraged victims of this type of virus exposure to call law enforcement or the county attorney’s office. He also noted that they did not have to contract the virus themselves but simply have been exposed to it “without previous warning.”

Brooks County is also under curfew and has implemented a face mask mandate. Violating either could result in a fine of up to $1,000.

As of July 7, the county had only seen 18 total confirmed cases of COVID-19. Officials said they believed there were at least five more cases in the area.

The state of Texas as a whole has seen a resurgence in virus cases that caused Republican Gov. Greg Abbott to retreat from what had been one of America’s fastest reopenings, the Associated Press reports.

On Tuesday, the state surpassed 10,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day for the first time. New York and Florida are the only other states to have done so.

Mayors in some of the biggest cities in the state, including Austin, San Antonio and Houston, have warned that hospitals could soon become overwhelmed with coronavirus patients.

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