Fourteen days with less than 20 new COVID-19 cases is what the governor says is the minimum a county must have to fully reopen, but in Wharton County it’s going to take more than that.

Calhoun, Goliad and Jackson counties have all been approved for the exemption, according to the Texas Division of Emergency Management, as well as Colorado County.

County Judge Phillip Spenrath says it’s going to take more than a healthy 14-day interval, however.

“I’m going to contact the local health authority, city leaders and the hospital district,” Spenrath said Monday. “It’s weeks down the road.”

First, the judge said he wanted additional information from state officials.

Dropping the mask order is not an option for Wharton County yet. In the last 14 days, there were 45 new cases, according to the Wharton County Office of Emergency Management.

Two prior reductions in restrictions statewide have coincided with holidays and spikes in COVID-19 cases. Thus far, no major virus case increases have been reported in the last two months spite at least a portion of youngsters returning to school.

“I definitely don’t want to see a see-saw,” Spenrath said.

No county decision or ruling will apply to school districts, he said, adding. “I do not think I have the authority nor will I touch the school.”

In the meantime, county officials urge the public to still wear masks, social distance and wash hands frequently.

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