Smith County judge expects more COVID-19 cases as testing ramps up

Nathaniel Moran: This isn’t the worst of it
Updated: Mar. 24, 2020 at 11:11 AM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran said Tuesday there are still no plans to issue a shelter-in-place order in response to COVID-19.

Moran said there are “unintended consequences” that come along with shelter-in-place orders. He added that he knows this isn’t the worst of it and expressed concern over how long such an order would need to be in place if it were issued now.

There could be tighter restrictions implemented in Smith County if medical professionals make those recommendations, according to Moran. But he said he’s not hearing any of those recommendations right now.

“I have an open mind about this,” he said.

Moran made the comments during the Smith County Commissioners Court meeting, which was live streamed for the public to view online following guidance from Gov. Greg Abbott.

“There will be more cases,” Moran said, adding that COVID-19 testing is starting to catch up. As more tests are done, Moran said we will likely see a spike in cases and should be “prepared for that.”

There are currently 14 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Smith County, according to NET Health.

“I don’t believe that I have a magic eight-ball or some vision of the future that allows me to make perfect decisions,” Moran said.

Smith County Pct. 3 Commissioner Terry Phillips asks about the number of ventilators in the county. Moran didn’t give those specifics, saying that information should come from the hospitals.

“There is certainly the desire to get more,” Moran said.

Moran says he wants the community to wash their hands, keep a safe distance, and limit interaction with others. Says if you’re among the vulnerable, you need to stay away from anybody else in this community.

The best way to fight the spread of COVID-19 is to assume “everyone has it," Moran said.

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Smith County will have its commissioners court meeting available for the public to view live on Tuesday morning.

From Smith County:

Based on guidance from federal, state and local health officials and under the direction of orders issued by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, until further notice, the Smith County Commissioners Court will conduct all meetings utilizing online live streaming.

Face-to-face interactions between members of the public and public officials during these meetings will be suspended. The Smith County Commissioners Court Meeting set for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 24, will be closed to the public but streamed live online.

People wanting to give public comment can do so by filling out the online public comment form with a phone number that they will be called on during the meeting.

Members of the public are encouraged to view the meetings live at the following link: and click on Commissioners Court Live Stream. The meeting will also be available live at

If members of the public want to make a public comment, please fill out the form on the link below and hit submit: All forms must be submitted before the beginning of the Commissioners Court Meeting at 9:30 a.m. on the day of the meeting. On the public comment form, please include the phone number you would like to be contacted on during the meeting’s public comment time. You will be allowed three minutes for your comments.

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