As the biggest holiday weekend of summer approaches, city and county officials are concerned about the growing number of positive COVID-19 cases reported in Palo Pinto County and are encouraging people to not gather in large groups when celebrating this Fourth of July.

Mineral Wells Mayor Tammy Underwood met via teleconference Monday with an array of community leaders to discuss the battle going forward. 

“It was said in our meeting that the public is the cause of the spread and the public is the solution to ending the spread,” she said. “We have to get the message out that COVID is here and it is real.”

As of Tuesday, Palo Pinto County had reported 41 positive cases, up from 14 just two weeks ago. Active cases numbers stand at 28 with 191 test results pending. County Physician Dr. Ed Evans took his concern for the increase in numbers to social media Monday morning. His Facebook post read “DOES THE NUMBER FORTY IMPRESS ANYONE,” referring to Monday’s case count.

Palo Pinto General Hospital’s CEO Ross Korkmas encouraged the public to be monitor themselves, note any possible symptoms and make smart decisions.

“Do everything you can, do your part, and hopefully we can stop this thing,” he said.

Underwood said the decision was made to allow the annual community fireworks show to go on as scheduled but with slight changes this year. Ram Stadium will not be open for public viewing. 

“No one will be allowed in the stadium. We will be encouraging folks to stay in their vehicles and respect the 6-foot social distancing and wear a mask if possible,” she said. “We can’t encourage folks enough to take all the precautions during the upcoming holiday weekend. Please stick with immediate family members and celebrate at home.”

The Possum Kingdom Lake Chamber of Commerce says its annual Hell’s Gate Firework Show will happen as planned with one big change from year. Spectators will not be allowed to park their vehicles and watch the show at Camp Grady Spruce. It will not be open for the public to watch.

The Mineral Wells Area Chamber of Commerce will also join in the festivities this week. The Crazy Sign that spans Highway 180 will be lit at night starting at 9 p.m. Thursday and stay lit through Monday.

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