Sutton County has reached a critical red zone status with an alarming increase in the COVID-19 positivity rate. As of Tuesday, November 17, the county had 55 active cases of coronavirus, according to The Texas Department of Health Services. The cumulative total of confirmed cases reported since June has risen to 214, according to data from the most reliable sources.

Three COVID-19 related deaths have been attributed to Sutton County.

The surge in new confirmed cases of coronavirus mirrors that of the overwhelming increase statewide.

As a result, Sutton County is not exempt from the statewide mask requirement issued by Gov. Greg Abbott earlier this year. Gov. Abbott issued the statewide mask mandate as Texas scrambled to get its coronavirus surge under control four months ago in July.

Texas is again at the top of the list of states with record numbers of new cases confirmed daily.

In response, County Judge Steve Smith said he will enforce the governor’s order and require everyone in Sutton County to wear a face mask or face covering when in public places. Violators will be fined, he added. First-time offenders will receive a written or oral warning. Those who violate the order a second time will receive a fine of up to $250. All subsequent violations are also punishable by a fine of up to $250. The mask mandate specifies that no one can get jail time for a violation.

He also warned residents that currently there is a significant risk of contracting COVID-19 and implored them to follow guidelines such as social distancing and limited gatherings to help reduce the spread of the virus. Meanwhile, the situation will be monitored in the upcoming weeks at which time Judge Smith said he will decide whether or not to tighten restrictions.

“I’m very concerned with the quick rise of the number of positive cases,” Judge Smith said. “If we don’t get a handle on this, size of gatherings will have to be weighed differently. It is not my objective to keep folks from doing things, but limitations may have to occur.”

The latest COVID-19 report from Lillian M. Hudspeth Hospital shows a total of 115 confirmed cases. Twenty three people have tested positive for the virus since the beginning of the month.

The San Angelo Health Department reported a total of 93 confirmed cases for Sutton County.

Two other sources, The National Guard and Schleicher County Medical Center hve reported a total of six people who tested positive for the virus.
Texas has reported over 1 million cases of COVID-19/coronavirus, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.Since the beginning of October, COVID-19 hospitalizations and the seven-day average of new cases have more than doubled. As Texas endures another wave of coronavirus infections, health experts say social gatherings like parties and sports events are to blame for the recent increased spread of COVID-19.

At the same time, fewer people are taking the necessary precautions such as wearing masks and social distancing to mitigate the spread of the virus.