A countywide shelter-in-place order is “on the table,” Brazoria County Judge Matt Sebesta said Monday, but it has not been declared.

“We’re not taking anything off the table at this time,” he said.

While 80 percent of Texas counties don’t have any COVID-19 cases, Brazoria County had 18 cases through Monday afternoon, he said.

But Gov. Greg Abbott’s deployment of the Texas Army National Guard on Sunday does not automatically relate to a shelter-in-place.

“They are a valuable resource,” Sebesta said, adding Guardsmen served the county after Hurricane Harvey and there has been an armory in Angleton for many years.

What duties the National Guard will carry out “just depends on who makes a request for their assistance,” Abbott said in an interview with Austin TV station KVUE.

Texas National Guard units are assembling in preparation for operations around the state, Texas Military Department Press Secretary Brandon Jones said in a statement.

“Guard members are trained to provide a number of capabilities such as medical support, communication support, infrastructure maintenance, logistics and transportation,” Jones said in the statement.

The Texas National Guard has “unique resources and equipment” to support communities, he said. The Guardsmen bring expertise to assess and enhance the COVID-19 response, Jones said.

“We will continue to work with our federal, state, and local partners to reduce the impact of COVID-19,” Jones said in the statement.

Abbott gave examples of possible Guard tasks, including helping with traffic at drive-through testing sites and organizing things at hospitals.

Speaker Dennis Bonnen gave similar examples on the Jimmy Barrett radio show last week, including “stand-up hospitals, medical facilities, emergency tents and those types of settings.”

The National Guard has “valuable resources for whatever type of emergencies come up,” Sebesta said.

There is still misinformation regarding “martial law” out there and people should stop spreading it, Bonnen said in a statement.

“The reality is that we are dealing with a very serious pandemic that is only going to get worse unless people start to comply with the direction to stay at home,” Bonnen said in the statement.

“We have the responsibility of protecting the most vulnerable in our community. If you don’t have an essential reason to leave your home, then home is exactly where you need to stay.”

FICTION: The governor deployed Texas National Guard to implement martial law throughout the state.

FACT: The Texas National Guard has a multitude of resources in order to respond to an emergency.

FACT: Brazoria County shelter-in-place orders are on the table.

Maddy McCarty is assistant managing editor for The Facts. Contact her at 979-237-0151.

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