Wormington & Bollinger has been monitoring the ongoing global pandemic that stems from the emergence of a novel coronavirus originating from a food market in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. Since then, this coronavirus has swept across the globe, first spreading across all of China, then making its way across borders and into neighboring countries. Due to international travel, like planes and ships, COVID-19, the disease caused by this novel coronavirus, has spread into countries and continents thousands of miles away. COVID-19 swiftly reached the United States. In early March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Just a few days later, Governor Greg Abbott declared a state of emergency in Texas.
This pandemic has affected the lives of millions across the world. If the virus has not infected someone they know, it has likely affected other aspects of their lives, including work, exercise, recreation, and more. COVID-19 continues to threaten the lives of millions, which has forced the hands of many government bodies around the world. They have had to make tough decisions regarding the health and safety of their communities. Many of these decisions include stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders. These orders greatly hamper what jobs individuals can and cannot do.
Wormington & Bollinger continues to monitor the situation surrounding COVID-19 and is taking the necessary steps to ensure the safety of our staff, clients, and community. Contact us today if you have any questions about your case or the services we provide.
What is COVID-19?
As we mentioned previously, COVID-19 is a disease caused by a novel coronavirus, which is one in a family of zoonotic viruses, meaning they travel from animals to humans. The illnesses this virus causes varies, either leading to minor illnesses like the common cold to something life-threatening. While COVID-19 is the most devastating coronavirus in recent memory, it is far from the first. SARS made its presence felt in 2003 after emerging in Asia, claiming the lives of nearly 800 people. Then, in Saudi Arabia in 2012, a MERS outbreak began and took the lives of over 800 people.
Currently, COVID-19 has surpassed both of these viruses. At the time of this writing, it has reached numbers, such as:
- Over 2.5 million confirmed global cases
- Over 175,000 confirmed global deaths
Each day, these numbers are updated all around the world. To keep up with these numbers, you can visit WHO’s Coronavirus Dashboard, where they post regular updates throughout the day.
To better protect yourself and your loved ones, you must be aware of the most common symptoms of COVID-19. As we said before, the illnesses caused by this virus range from mild to life-threatening, so failing to act when experiencing symptoms can cost a life. These symptoms are:
- Shortness of breath
- Nasal congestion
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
NOTE: The incubation period for COVID-19 is anywhere between 1-14 days, which means that even though you may have contracted the virus, you may not show symptoms until nearly two weeks after. If you have come in contact with an individual who is sick, or you begin to show symptoms yourself, you should self-isolate and then contact local health officials. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has laid out a guide to help you know when you need to be tested and how to do so.
Texas Takes Action
COVID-19 quickly made its way to the United States, including Texas. As we mentioned earlier, government bodies have had to make difficult decisions to protect their communities. Texas is no different. After declaring a state of emergency, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed an executive order banning the gathering of ten or more people, prohibited eating or drinking in bars and restaurants (delivery and to-go orders are still allowed), closed gyms, and much more. Initially, this order was supposed to end on April 3, but Abbott extended it through to April 30.
Furthermore, on April 17, Abbott announced that schools, both public and private, would remain closed for the rest of the school year. Governor Abbott has also recently made comments about slowly reopening the state’s businesses to reopen the economy. However, he stated that businesses won’t be “fully opened, but … will be opened in strategic ways, in ways that are approved by doctors to make sure we contain the coronavirus.” He also states how some counties in the state are hotspots for the virus and may not reopen with the rest of the state, such as Dallas County.
Dallas County’s Response
Dallas County is one of the biggest hotspots for COVID-19 in the entire state of Texas. At the time of this writing, Dallas County has reported:
- 2,683 confirmed cases
- 65 deaths
Dallas County initially issued a stay-at-home order through to April 30 but extended it through to May 15. However, Abbott’s upcoming announcement about the reopening of the state may affect this order.
If you are a Dallas County resident or live in the surrounding DFW area, you can visit Dallas County’s website for resources and information regarding the situation surround COVID-19, including what is deemed an essential business, essential activity, non-essential business, healthcare resources, and more.
Impact on Attorneys
The current global pandemic has thrown many industries into disarray, with many businesses, such as gyms and theaters, completely shut down. While most law firms are still offering their services to clients, their way of conducting business has shifted. Courtrooms around the country, not just in Texas, have been affected. Fewer cases are being heard, hearings are being postponed, officials have canceled or rescheduled depositions, and much more.
Many courts throughout the state have closed due to COVID-19. Courthouses have begun to prioritize certain cases over others. Criminal bond hearings and child custody cases, along with other family hearings, are being prioritized over nonessential cases, such as evictions, worker’s comp, and more.
The Supreme Court of Texas has issued several emergency orders, which map out the steps law firms should take. You can visit the Texas Bar’s website to learn more about these orders and find resources provided for attorneys. Wormington & Bollinger is monitoring the situation and is taking all the necessary steps to ensure the safety of our staff, clients, and community. We intend on following social distancing practices and advise clients to contact us via phone call or email, as this allows us to best serve our clients while remaining safe. If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact Wormington & Bollinger today.