The Golden Crescent Regional Planning Commission announced Tuesday that its public transit services will be free until further notice.
“Obviously, our community is strained at this point (and) there are still critical needs,” said Executive Director Michael Ada. “This is all about accessibility; it is also about economic viability, right, we want to keep the economy rolling even though things have slowed down throughout the region.”
Transportation services include Victoria Transit’s fixed routes and paratransit service that is available on demand, as well as a rural transportation program in DeWitt and Victoria counties.
“We continue to take preventative action within our buses and for our drivers,” Ada said. “We ask that the public who ride respect our drivers and use social distancing measures.”
The commission is using stickers to advise riders where to sit and maintain proper social distancing and has increased sanitation measures for both buses and bus stops, he said. All bus drivers are also using masks, gloves and hand sanitizer as a precautionary measure, he said.
The announcement came as cases of the novel coronavirus rose slightly in the Crossroads, and Victoria’s local health authority Dr. John McNeill announced that drive-thru testing will be suspended in the region’s largest county because of a lack of equipment.
In additional to nine new COVID-19 cases in Victoria, Lavaca and Wharton counties announced a total of three new cases that bring the regional count to 148.
No new cases were reported in Calhoun County on Tuesday, where Dr. Leigh Ann Falcon of the Memorial Medical Center, said she suspected an early start on preparation was helping slow the spread of COVID-19.
“Thankfully we’ve had a blunting in our numbers in Calhoun County, which I am very grateful for,” she said during a news conference streamed on Facebook by the Port Lavaca Wave. “We are still going to have cases; numbers may get bad at some point, but that doesn’t mean we should let our guard down.”
A resident of rural Lavaca County tested positive for COVID-19, officials said Tuesday. The patient is displaying mild symptoms and isolating at home, located in the Hallettsville ZIP code area.
County and medical officials are identifying those who may have been in contact with the patient.
The patient’s gender and age were not made available.
Wharton County’s two new cases of the novel coronavirus bring its county case count to 18.
Of those 18, five have recovered, according to the state health department, leaving the county with 13 active cases.
One of the new cases is a man between 30 and 40 years old who resides in the city of Wharton, according to the Wharton County Office of Emergency Management. The other is an El Campo man of an unknown age.
“As testing continues, our efforts to stop the virus must not slow down and we must continue to work hard to slow the spread in our area,” read a statement released by the Wharton County Office of Emergency Management.
In addition to urging residents to continue following Gov. Greg Abbott’s orders that are in effect statewide until April 30, the officials are recommending residents follow CDC guidelines to utilize a cloth face covering when going out in public.