Dianne Edmondson, Pct. 4 County Commissioner
As you read this column, 2020 is drawing closer to its end, and like most of you, I am very glad to see this doublet 20 meet its demise. How many times we have muttered that it’s time to turn the page, request a “do over,” or some other term indicating our extreme dislike for this twentieth year of the 21st century?! Yes, COVID-19 fatigue is all too real.
Indeed, it wasn’t long after the new year that the first cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China occurred, and thus began the world-wide pandemic that to date has infected about 60 million, and proven fatal to almost 1.5 million people from across the globe. (These numbers are from time of writing.)
Our hearts broke as about 12 million of our fellow Americans were stricken and more than 250,000 succumbed. We even experienced some COVID-19 infections here at the Ranch. However, our hopes and our spirits were raised with the mid-November announcement of not just one, but at least three potential vaccines with more than 90% effectiveness.
To date, about 21,000 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed here in Denton County resulting in about 150 deaths. Our county’s cases are about equally divided between males and females, with most infections occurring in the 20-29 age range. As might be expected, the fewest cases are in the 70 and up ages, though this group is the most fatally affected. To track Denton County cases by age and geography, you may visit www.dentoncounty.gov/COVID19testing.
In the midst of the pandemic, many businesses were shut down or severely curtailed costing many people their jobs. In an attempt to assist with that situation here in Denton County, the federal government provided a $147M Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) grant to be used for Covid-related relief efforts. Your Commissioners quickly decided to assist both county businesses with direct grants, as well as assisting the United Way in providing funds to county non-profits who help individuals with food and shelter. Weeks ahead of neighboring counties, Denton County had a plan and was executing it. The feds also instructed that part of the CARES funds be shared with individual municipalities in our county, and we did so efficiently so that these entities could help their own businesses, first responders, and/or residents. A quick overview of how we distributed these federal funds (which must be spent and accounted for by Dec. 30) is below:
*$35.7+ million in business grants
*$1.6+ million in non-profit grants
*$2.6+ million for food
*$5.3+ million to prevent 3,500 households from eviction
*$35.5+ million to towns and cities
*10,100+ free COVID-19 tests
*1.27 million+ masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, gowns, face shields, etc.
*20,000+ boxes of fruits and vegetables
*30,500+ COVID-19 call center calls
*12,000 turkeys and hams for Thanksgiving for families in need
Certainly, all Denton County residents can be proud of how our Commissioners responded with alacrity and compassion to the federal grant. We also are proud of our many awesome Robson neighbors, who responded as volunteers needed by the County and by various non-profits during this pandemic.
And now, at last, a vaccine is imminent. While plans for administering the vaccine are still being finalized, the Denton County Health Department anticipates that the vaccine will be distributed initially to medical front-line workers and first responders, then to those who are vulnerable because of underlying health conditions or age.
Now, as we advance into 2021, we can see the light at the end of the COVID tunnel, and should anticipate at least some return to normalcy perhaps by mid-next year, according to various medical sources. We here at Robson Ranch can look forward to a continuing popularity in our community. General Manager Rhett Hubbard reports that by year-end, we should have about 2,400 total residences, with about 4,500 residents! Soon, we will have lots of new neighbors to welcome into this awesome community. Maybe we can even have a vaccination center here at the Ranch, once the distribution logistics are established!
Stay strong and stay safe!
Commissioner Dianne Edmondson may be reached at her Southwest County Courthouse office at 6200 Canyon Falls Drive, in Argyle, or by phone at 972-434-3960. To receive her periodic e-newsletter, please request it at Dianne.Edmondson@dentoncounty.com.