The city of Galveston is closely monitoring the coronavirus and evaluating this medical event to make informed decisions for the public health of our island.

The city is no stranger to responding to natural events, and we’re treating the coronavirus, COVID-19, similarly. We’re maintaining communication with medical professionals, closely monitoring the situation, and updating our policies and operations to reflect the nature of the coronavirus.

This is a coordinated effort. The city of Galveston doesn’t oversee public health matters but works with the Galveston County Health District to take necessary steps to protect public health.

City staff is participating in daily conference calls with representatives from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Galveston County Health District, the U.S. Coast Guard and others to respond to the virus.

Staff has participated in tabletop exercises with the Port of Galveston, the U.S. Coast Guard and the University of Texas Medical Branch to prepare for potential cases of the virus. Also, staff has revisited and updated the city’s infectious disease control plan to mitigate any threats to our employees or the public health.

We have daily conversations with our partners at the park board to assess our scheduled largest events. One event, the Causeway FunD Run, which was set for today, has been postponed.

Out of an abundance of caution, the city of Galveston has closed the recreation centers and the community pool. This closure will be assessed on a day-to-day basis.

At this time, I haven’t filed a formal Emergency Health Declaration over coronavirus. We will continue to monitor the situation in Galveston County and use all available resources to make educated decisions about how we move forward.

Based on guidance from the medical community, I don’t believe this is a time to panic but to continue focusing our efforts on prevention. The same precautions we take to prevent the spread of the flu apply to the coronavirus.

I ask residents to wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face, stay home if you’re sick, cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and clean objects and surfaces frequently. These are the most important steps you can take to prevent the spread of this virus.

Be mindful of our most vulnerable populations. Take extra precautions to leave distance and avoid physical contact between yourself and those most susceptible to the coronavirus, particularly the elderly and immunocompromised.

Also, stay informed by following news and alerts from the Galveston County Health District and the CDC in local media such as The Daily News and online.

The Galveston County Health District has established a call center to answer residents’ questions about the coronavirus. The call center is staffed between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays; and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays and is available at 409-938-7221 (select option 1). These are local resources to help you remain informed.

The city of Galveston will continue to work with medical professionals and authorities to do our best to protect the public health, and I ask again that you continue taking common sense measures to prevent the spread of this virus.

Jim Yarbrough is mayor of the city of Galveston.

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(2) comments

Bailey Jones

Keep calm, and carry on.

Lisa Blair

Thank you, Jim and COG staff. As always you are keeping us informed and safe. 🙌

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