County officials have deactivated the Cooke County COVID-19 Joint Information Center, the four participating entities announced Friday in a press release.

Area officials in March formed the joint information center to include representation from North Texas Medical Center, the city of Gainesville, Cooke County and Muenster Memorial Hospital to respond to inquires about the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials recently scaled back data releases from the JIC and now release the number of active coronavirus cases, age and gender of those with active coronavirus infection and where they are from in the county. They also add if there are any fatalities from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

“This was done as testing became more widely available and results were not being reliably reported to the county,” according to the release. “This caused disparities between county numbers and state numbers, especially in the areas of pending and negative tests.”

As of noon Thursday, June 18, the county reported six active cases and no fatalities. Four patients are residents of Gainesville and two live in unincorporated areas of the county, according to information released by the JIC. All age groups from 0-19 through 60-69 are represented. Three are male and three are female.

As of 11:45 a.m. Friday, June 19, there were 27 positive cases of the coronavirus reported in the county, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The Cooke County Pandemic Information Page, a Facebook page the JIC had created to share daily case counts and other information, remains active for informational purposes only with Cooke County administering it.

The county will still report and monitor all known active cases of the coronavirus, according to the June 19 press release, which adds the JIC will be reactivated immediately if the situation calls for it and the four entities will still be cooperating with one another regardless.

Officials still recommend that people take precautions to limit the spread of the coronavirus, including hand washing and use of hand sanitizer, keeping at least six feet away from people outside your own household, wearing a face covering when social distancing is impractical and avoiding large groups.

COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019, is caused by a coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2. It first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China.

Follow the Gainesville Daily Register online for updates as the situation surrounding the coronavirus is developing.

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