We would like to thank the residents of Palestine and Anderson County that have responded to the Coronavirus emergency with a spirit of cooperation and willingness to help others.

There have been inconveniences for many during this time of uncertainty, as daily activities have changed by restrictions. The willingness of our community to follow these restrictions has been important to slowing the spread of the virus.

The largest number of cases in Anderson county (nearly 900) have been in our local prisons. TDCJ has procedures in place to contain the virus and keep it from spreading among the inmates and staff. With these efforts and the efforts of the community, Anderson County has 104 confirmed local cases, instead of possibly hundreds. There have been no virus-related deaths (in the community), thanks to the efforts of everyone, including our medical community and hospital.

Case numbers are climbing. As many as 30% to 50% of young people that are contagious with the virus show no symptoms and have no idea they are sick.

As our businesses reopen, we need to think of others to whom we might accidentally carry the virus. We must continue to practice the distancing, hand washing, avoiding groups, and wearing face coverings to protect the elderly, pregnant, and others with weakened immune systems.

We all know of times when many people and groups have worked to help others in our community. These acts of kindness and caring show what our community is really made of.

Let’s please continue to keep the needs of others in our prayers and help when we can in the months ahead. It will probably be many months before a cure or vaccine is available. We need to continue our safe practices to protect others.

We will return to a new normal someday with an increased awareness of the needs of others. Maybe that will be the silver lining to this dark cloud hanging over us.

Thank you again for all your efforts.

Anderson County Judge Robert Johnston and Palestine Mayor Steve Presley

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