Health officials: Person with latest confirmed COVID-19 case worked at Port Arthur health facility

Published 2:13 pm Sunday, March 22, 2020

Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick said a person with a case of coronavirus that was confirmed Sunday was not from Port Arthur.

Branick could not confirm whether the person had any connection to the city amid reports that a healthcare worker in Port Arthur tested positive for the novel virus, also known as COVID-19.

“Not that I know of,” Branick said. “The last test was that of somebody who had been in New York for 10 days and got back two days ago. That person is from Beaumont and is self-quarantined.”

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The individual works at a facility located in Port Arthur. The individual is currently quarantined at home and is cooperating with the direction of the health department and required medical officials.

The City of Port Arthur Health Department is working closely with the Beaumont Health Department in conducting an investigation of any contact that the individual has had with members of the public. Additionally, the employer of the confirmed case is closing its Port Arthur facility in order to quarantine its employees and sanitize the building.


Branick said he was working on the fourth floor of the Jefferson County Courthouse on an amended executive order, stressing he was not at the same location as the Emergency Operations Center on the first floor. Once done, Branick said he would then work from home until his wife Sherrie receives results of her test for COVID-19. He said that would mean self-quarantining for 14 days if Sherrie receives a positive test.

Jeff Branick made a Facebook post about Sherrie’s hospital stay.

“In the early morning hours Sherrie and I spent 4 hours in a local hospital emergency room because she is exhibiting the symptoms of COVID-19,” the judge posted. “Although her blood work is good and her lung x-ray is clear, she has a fever and dry cough and tested negative for flu and strep. Because of that I will be leaving the courthouse (I am current on the 4th floor isolated from the EOC on the first floor) and will be fulfilling my Incident Command duties from home via telecomputing until we can get Sherrie’s test results. I will remain in constant contact with my Emergency Management Coordinator, the other 4 county judges on our team and the city emergency management personnel manning our EOC. I cannot put them at risk of infection at such a critical time.”

Branick told The News, however, he feels fine.

“In accordance with the doctor’s orders, I’ll be going home and will be doing everything by teleconference. I’ll do all the tactical, logical, planning and procurement meetings that way.”

Branick added the amended order would temporarily close tattoo parlors, beauty salons, barbershops, massage parlors and nail salons, as well as limit access to the courthouse and other county buildings that would remain open.

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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