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Rural Texas counties peak in COVID-19 cases

Several peripheral counties are experiencing higher percentage increases than the Dallas and Tarrant counties.

CLEBURNE, Texas – Texas has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases, and not only are rural counties not immune, many have been hit even harder than large cities.

The state health department says Johnson County added 182 cases in the past 8 days, an increase of 72%.

“Just like everywhere else, we are witnessing a peak,” said Jaime Moore, Johnson County̵

7;s director of emergency management.

Moore said that in small towns there are fewer places to shop or eat, so they are more concentrated and families have started to get together again.

“We are seeing an increase because there is less social distance and there is less wearing a mask,” he said.

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The county added a mask order on Friday to combat the spread.

Over the past eight days, several counties have seen leaps. Cases increased 68 percent over that period in County Wise, 63 percent in Kaufman County, 61 percent in Ellis County – and 131 percent in Parker County, which went from 124 cases to 284.

By perspective, the counties of Dallas and Tarrant saw a 23 percent and 21 percent increase over the same time frame.

“Obviously when you opened it, we knew we would have more,” said Parker County Judge Pat Deen.

Deen is allowing restaurants to continue operating at 75% capacity and requires no masks. Weatherford will request masks for its July 4th firework display.

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“I don’t think it’s the role of the government that makes and makes these decisions for them,” said Deen.

He says the problem may be that more than half of the residents go east on business.

“You overflowed, went and had that impact in those areas with greater penetration, higher density,” he said. “We will have to reevaluate our containment strategy and what it should be.”

Recently a contractor, MTX Group, has taken over the state contact track, so now, as cases increase, smaller counties get less information. Now they only see a number and no details on where the cases come from for centuries, genders and more.

“So how do we tell the public what’s going on in our community and where in our community in particular?” Moore said.

From the centers to the squares, the virus is spreading all over Texas.

“It is truly the personal responsibility of all of us to make good decisions individually,” said Deen.

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