Most state parks remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are some important changes to park procedures that become effective April 1, to help protect the health and well-being of visitors, volunteers and staff. One big change will be that all day-use and camping permits must be purchased online before your visit.
As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, more changes including park closures may happen suddenly, according to Texas State Parks Director Rodney Franklin.
Park visitors are reminded to check the Texas State Parks Alert Map or contact the park for updates before they head out until the COVID-19 pandemic improves. Some may also be closed due to weather or other related issues.
For instance, the TSP Alert Map shows Cooper Lake State Park Doctor’s Creek Unit closed March 26 due to high water levels from recent rain, and the closure may last until May. The Alert Map also lists CLSP South Sulphur Unit closed as of March 26 to all day use visitation and the following areas will remain closed until further notice, due to flooding and flood damage in the Deer Haven restroom; Buggy Whip restroom; Heron Harbor day-use area and restroom; Honey Creek boat ramp, restroom, and fishing pier; Oak Grove camping area; and Sunset Cove and Eagle Point piers.
Franklin said visitors should expect the following at state parks that are open:
- There will be no on-site transactions beginning April 1. Vistors must pre-register and pay all day-use and overnight fees online before you arrive. For help with this process, visit our Reservation Information page for simple how-to videos.
- Fewer park visitors are allowed. Fewer visitors make it easier to comply with social distancing guidelines.
- There will be no programs as all in-person events and equipment rentals are cancelled.
- All group sites (halls, campsites, etc.), those where more than 10 people can gather, have been closed, including park headquarters buildings, visitor centers, interpretive centers, stores, and park stores are closed.
- Some parks are closed due to difficulty complying with guidelines for social distancing or disinfecting. Check the Alert Map for the latest status of parks.
TPWD will waive cancellation fees for individual who cancel in March and April, provided the individual contacts the Customer Service Center at (512) 389-8900 or [email protected]
If a reservation is impacted by a facility or park closure, a Customer Service Center agent will contact the individual – individuals in those instances do not need to contact the park service. Customers are being contacted in order of arrival date. For general park information visit TexasStateParks.org.
“We urge you to follow guidelines set by federal, state and local officials regarding social distancing, crowd size and other protocols. In return, we promise to remain diligent in making your visit safe and enjoyable,” Franklin stated.
“Ticks, like mosquitoes, are blood-feeding external parasites,” said Pete Teel, Ph.D., Texas A&M University interim head for the Department of Entomology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “The viruses they are known to transmit to humans must survive and grow, or replicate, inside the tick as well as survive through tick developmental stages.”
Mosquitoes, ticks and other blood-feeding arthropods are vectors of other viruses and pathogens.
“People still need to exercise caution and good judgment in avoiding bites,” said Zach Adelman, professor in the Department of Entomology. “But there is no evidence that a coronavirus can survive being digested by a mosquito, let alone transmitted to another person. As a result of social distancing, people are also spending more time outside. This is understandable as many outdoor activities like running, biking, etc., are very compatible with social distancing, explained Kevin Myles, professor in the Department of Entomology.”
“One unintended consequence of this trend is that people may be increasingly exposed to mosquitoes and other disease vectors as the weather warms. As a result, everyone should be reminded to wear appropriate clothing and insect repellant when spending time outdoors, as vector-borne diseases continue to pose a threat to public health, in addition to flu and COVID-19,” Myles said.
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person including people who are in close contact with one another — within about six feet —and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
The World Health Organization has also reported there is no information nor evidence, at this time, to suggest that that novel coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes.
The American Mosquito Control Association is monitoring the situation.
For more information regarding the Coronavirus, visit Texas A&M AgriLife’s Disaster Education Network.
To help prevent the spread and protect yourself:
- wash hands under soap and water for at least 20 seconds,
- use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol,
- avoid close contact and practice social distancing.
AUSTIN – Texas Health and Human Services has launched a 24/7 statewide mental health support line to help Texans experiencing anxiety, stress or emotional challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This new resource offers COVID-19-related mental health support for all Texans. People can call the Statewide COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week toll-free at 833-986-1919.
“Through this new effort, we are connecting Texans with mental health professionals who can help provide support to those who are feeling overwhelmed and stressed,” said Sonja Gaines, deputy executive commissioner for Intellectual and Developmental Disability and Behavioral Health Services. “It can be helpful to talk to someone when you are facing anxiety, depression and stress, which are not uncommon to experience in the face of a rapidly changing situation like a pandemic.”
Operated by the Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD, the support line offers trauma-informed support and psychological first aid to those experiencing stress and anxiety related to COVID-19. Counseling services are confidential and free of charge to people who call the hotline.
“It is important to recognize how our mental health can be affected by the pandemic,” said Sen. Jane Nelson. “The mental health support line for COVID-19 will go a long way to ensure Texans who are struggling with anxiety, depression or other mental health issues can access the care they need.”
For general health-related information and precautions on COVID-19, people can visit the DSHS webpage and the CDC webpage. To stay up-to-date on the latest news impacting HHS services and regulated providers, people can visit the HHS COVID-19 webpage.
For more information on mental health resources, find the local mental health authority by clicking here.
Governor Greg Abbott issued an Executive Order today implementing Essential Services and Activities Protocols for the entire state of Texas. The protocols direct all Texans to minimize non-essential gatherings and in-person contact with people who are not in the same household.
The Governor’s Executive Order renews and amends his previous order enforcing federal social distancing guidelines for COVID-19, including closing schools and instructing Texans to avoid eating or drinking at bars and restaurants. The protocols allow exceptions for essential activities and services based on the Department of Homeland Security’s guidelines on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce. Examples of these essential services include healthcare, grocery stores, banking and financial services, utilities, child care for essential service employees, and government services.
Today’s Executive Order follows the decision by President Trump and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to enhance social distancing guidelines and extend the deadline for these guidelines to April 30.
“Social distancing is our best tool in the fight against COVID-19, and the actions we have taken thus far have proven to be effective in limiting the spread of this virus,” said Governor Abbott. “Now it is time to redouble our efforts to reduce further exposure as much as possible and flatten the curve. As with all the actions the state is taking, the Essential Services and Activities Protocols is informed by the expertise and guidance of the CDC as well as state and local health officials. I urge my fellow Texans to heed these heightened social distancing directives to protect their health and the health of those around them. By following these guidelines, we will limit the spread of COVID-19 and overcome this challenge together.”
The Executive Order renews and expands the Governor’s previous directive to minimize social gatherings and minimize contact with people who are not in the same household. It also renews the Governor’s directive to avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and food courts, and visiting gyms or massage establishments, and it expands the order to include tattoo studios, piercing studios, and cosmetology salons.
In accordance with federal guidelines, people are still prohibited from visiting nursing home, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities, or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance. Additionally, schools will remain temporarily closed to in-person classroom attendance through May 4, 2020.
This Executive Order does not prohibit people from accessing essential services or engaging in essential daily activities, such as going to the grocery store or gas station, providing or obtaining other essential services, hunting or fishing, or engaging in physical activity like jogging or bicycling, so long as the necessary precautions are maintained to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and to minimize in-person contact with people who are not in the same household. The order also includes exemption for religious services conducted in churches, congregations, and houses of worship. All critical infrastructure will remain operational, and government entities and businesses will continue providing essential services.
TDEM will maintain an online list of essential services specified in the Governor’s Executive Order at www.tdem.texas.gov/essentialservices/. Other essential services may be added to this list with the approval of TDEM.
These orders will be effective on a statewide basis starting at 12:01 a.m. on April 2, 2020 and will end on April 30, 2020, subject to extension thereafter based on the status of COVID-19 in Texas and the recommendations of the CDC.
Karon Weatherman, Director of the Sulphur Springs Seniors Center, thinks very highly of her Srs! She is always planning surprises and doing special things on their behalf. On the final day of March, Karon sent out an email to all of them on her email list,, saying she hopes they are doing fine and that she misses them! Til she can see you again in person, Karon wants to hear back from you who are shut in and those at home practicing social distancing. To send a reply, email to [email protected]
Just a little note to say that I miss all of you guys and that I hope you are feeling OK. I wish I could call all of you guys but that is just not an option.
If you get this email please answer me back and let me know that you are OK.
I know some of you have kids that are probably taking good care of you and checking on you. I know some of you don’t have anyone to check on you.
If you need anything from the store and don’t have family or friends to help you and you can’t get out yourself please let me know. I have volunteers that are standing by to help you guys.
This is a scary time but if everyone will wash their hands often, cover coughs and sneezes or just plain STAY HOME we can get through this.
Please let me know how you are. I will be letting you know when we will be up and running again. Lots of events are having to be rescheduled for a later date. It will be a very BUSY Summer and Fall.
Love and Prayers, Karon
Superintendent David Stickels announced Tuesday afternoon that Saltillo ISD will be closed through April 30, per Governor due to the continued spread of COVID-19 in Texas. School meals will continue to be offered and work will continue online or by paper packets.
Below is Stickels official announcement:
In accordance with The Governors executive order concerning COVID-19, Saltillo ISD will be closed through April 30th. Saltillo ISD continue to feed families and make school work available either online or by paper packets. All school and practices are canceled as well. Saltillo ISD will continue to work alongside local health officials and monitor guidance issued by federal and state health authorities in determining when students and staff may safely return to school.
Please continue to monitor The Center for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html and Texas Department of State Health Services: http://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/ for updates and procedures to help keep you and your family safe from COVID-19.
Saltillo ISD appreciates your trust and understanding as we make these tough decisions in the best interest of our students, staff, and community at large. Saltillo ISD will continue to update you using the school app https://www.teamapp.com/clubs/37304, facebook, and our phone messaging system.Sincerely,
By PJC-Sulphur Springs Center, Public Information Services
Registration is now open at Paris Junior College for the May mini-term and other summer semesters. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the college continues to operate in a remote environment but those wishing to register may contact the college by email or phone. PJC is also offering a scholarship covering tuition for one Summer I or Summer II class to all graduating
high school seniors in the five-county PJC service area.
“We encourage students to go ahead and begin the registration process now,” said PJC President Dr. Pam Anglin, “since the College is operating remotely the process may take a little longer than normal.”
New students who have yet to apply to PJC should contact [email protected] or call 903-782-0425; returning students may sign up for classes by contacting [email protected] or calling 903-782-0426 in Paris, 903-454-9333 in Greenville, or 903-885-1232 in Sulphur Springs.
Summer terms now open for registration include a three-week all-online Summer Mini-Term (May 18 – June 5), a 12-week Summer Long Term (May 18 – Aug. 14), a 10-week Summer Extended Term (June 1 – Aug. 14), and a five-week Summer I Semester (June 1 – July 7) or Summer II Semester (July 8 – Aug. 14). Within the internet and physical location lists, courses are grouped by term/semester and may be viewed at www.parisjc.edu/schedule.
Graduating high school seniors from Delta, Hopkins, Hunt, Lamar, and Red Rivercounties, and those from the Fannindel and Honey Grove school districts in Fannin County qualify for a scholarship covering tuition for one Summer I or Summer II class. Many courses from the State of Texas Academic Core are available for transfer to university, as well as workforce courses for those wanting to gain skills to start a career.
The online scholarship application is at www.parisjc.edu/scholarships. High school seniors wanting the summer class scholarship should enter “graduating senior 2020” in the scholarship application box that asks for “semester/year to attend PJC.” Those with questions may submit them to [email protected] or [email protected].
While many courses are already available online for the summer terms, there are still many unknowns with the COVID-19 pandemic. Those courses listed as face-to-face courses by location may be changed to online at a later date. All students will be kept up-to-date with Dragon Alerts, through DragonMail, or by checking http://www.parisjc.edu/covid-19.
Effective April 1st, the Hopkins County Community Chest “Food Pantry” will only be open for drive-in assistance on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The change will allow the staff to better assist clients.
“Unlike businesses and stores who have closed, our intent is to continue operating through the COVID-19 pandemic. We recognize that these times are exactly when our clients need us most. We ask for your patience as we continue servicing Hopkins County,” said Judy Moore, HCCC and Christian Alliance executive director.
Hopkins County Community Chest is located at 217 Linda Drive. For additional information, call 903-885-3452.
A section of State Highway 154, on Gilmer Street near the railroad tracks, is scheduled to be closed from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 1, for repairs. According to the Texas Department of Transportation Sulphur Springs Area Engineer, the work is a maintenance program by Kansas City Southern Railroad.
Motorists who travel on that stretch of SH 154/Gilmer Street at Martin Luther King Drive at the railroad tracks should plan for the road closure on April 1.
CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital-Sulphur Springs Celebrates Doctor’s Day, Welcomes New Wound Care Associate, Prepares For Blood Drive
A CMFH-SS News Release — CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital – Sulphur Springs has ONE mission: To Extend the Health Ministry of Jesus Christ.
Happy National Doctor’s Day, a day celebrated to recognize the contributions of physicians to individual lives and communities. CMFH-SS appreciates you and all that you do!
For the safety and health of the community and our ministry, CHRISTUS Health is screening all associates and visitors to our hospitals to help lessen the risk of infectious disease transmission among our patients, associates, and guests.
- (1) Entrance to hospital through Emergency Department 24/7
- (1) Visitor per patient
- Visitors must be between the ages of 16 years-old and 65-years old.
- All visitors are screened at the door, including a temperature taken.
- All associates are screened at each shift, including a temperature taken.
- Visiting hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (subject to change)
CHRISTUS Virtual Medicine
At CHRISTUS Trinity Clinic, our goal is keeping our patients healthy and well. By expanding our services to offer video and telephone visits, we provide patients a convenient alternative to in-office visits for simple illnesses, including a cough or cold, to more complicated conditions like diabetes or heart disease. Go online to ChristusVirtualMedicine.org and schedule your appointment today! You may also call 903.606.DOCS to schedule.
COVID Health Chatbot
In an effort to help respond to questions and concerns regarding COVID-19, we have added the COVID Health Chatbot on our websites to help with triage and to ease concerns. The dedicated tool offers self-screening information for the virus, which will in turn provide direction on what next steps are needed based on the information given. The Chatbot is available 24/7, and the clinical pathways that guide our Chatbot were edited and verified by CHRISTUS clinical experts and will direct patients to the best care locally.
CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital – Wound Care is excited to announce the addition of Dr. Scott McDearmont. Dr. McDearmont brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise with a background in General Surgery.
Our wound care team provides specialized treatment of complicated, non-healing wounds of any kind. Our goal is to heal wounds, promote early recovery, prevent hospitalization, and avoid prolonged or permanent disability and amputations restoring your quality of life through individualized plans. Advanced healing therapies such as Hyperbaric Oxygenation are available as well. To reach our Wound Care team, please call 903.438.4670.
Carter Blood Drive
CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital – Sulphur Springs will host a blood drive at the Medical Office Building – Plaza Conference Room (113 Airport Road, first floor) on Wednesday, April 15, 2020, from 11 a.m. to 4 pm. For more information, contact Patricia Wilson at 903.438.4380.
We want to be perfectly clear: CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System remains a safe place for all to receive quality care. While COVID-19 is new, our processes and procedures in place for infection prevention and preventing the spread of illness are not. From physicians and nurses, quality and safety experts to those responsible for ordering supplies and keeping the hospital clean – all our Associates are involved in making sure we provide a safe environment for our patients. Every single day.
To be connected to our CHRISTUS COVID Hotline, call 1.800.458.4559.
For more information on COVID-19 and preventive measures, please visit www.CDC.gov.