TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - As more positive COVID-19 cases arise within East Texas, a particular area within Smith County is seeing a cluster of currently active cases, which prompted the city of Tyler to put out community spread signs.
As travelers drive by the intersection of Old Bullard Road and Grande in Tyler, they may have noticed signs issued by the city saying “COVID-19 community spread has been potentially identified in this area.”
Jenny Wells, a spokeswoman for the City of Tyler, explained the reasoning behind it.
“We use these signs when there seems to be what we would call a cluster or an outbreak of coronavirus in a particular area,” Well said.
Kimberly Tanton, a tenant of an apartment complex near the signs, said she’s worried.
“We had no idea it was a cluster area,” Tanton said. “It made us kind of nervous because we both have family members who are immunodeficiency, and I have asthma and severe allergies and everything like that, so it makes me extremely nervous because we’ve gone to the pool, we’ve checked our mail, and we had no idea.”
Wells said these signs are meant to inform the community in shared spaces.
“It doesn’t mean that there’s a massive spike of everybody in this area; it just means that we’ve had more than four cases identified in a certain clump,” Wells said. “We’re just letting people know if you’re using shared space, say a park or a swimming pool or a trail, that you’re taking additional precautions to protect yourself from the virus and to protect your families.”
Tanton said these signs surprised her and some members in the community.
“Nobody had any idea at all,” Tanton said. “We talked to multiple neighbors, and nobody had any clue that there were this many cases or that there was more than one case from before we even moved in.”
The Smith County Emergency Operations Center is in charge of making decisions on when and where these signs are placed in order to inform the community.
Wells said there aren’t any additional currently identified places of an outbreak within Smith County.