Masks, temperature checks and social distancing return to Comanche County Courthouse

In this file photo from last year, a masked-up Comanche County Sheriff's Deputy checks the temperature of a visitor to the county courthouse. COVID-19 precautions have been reimposed at the courthouse, including a mask mandate for anyone entering the building. 

The Comanche County Courthouse has reinstated a mask mandate for anyone entering the building.

The mandate went into effect Monday morning, according to Central District Commissioner Johnny Owens. Owens was in contact with courthouse officials about the mandate last week.

The rise of the Delta variant, low vaccination rates and an increase in cases all contributed to the decision, according to Owens.

The courthouse had originally put a mask mandate in place, along with other preventative measures including social distancing and temperature checks, after the pandemic began last year. The original mandate was lifted in June of this year.

“With so many people getting sick, we just wanted to be safe,” Owens said. “And after all the football games this weekend, I think we will see another big spike. I hope not. But we’ll see.”

With trial docket beginning at the courthouse soon, Owens expects packed courtrooms. All those coming into the building will need to practice social distancing, have their temperatures checked at the door and bring their own face masks as the courthouse will not be providing them.

“People see these courtrooms on TV, and they look really big, but ours are a lot smaller than that,” Owens said. “So we need to be careful.”

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Comanche County was 1,126 on Monday, according to Emergency Management Director Clint Langford.

“The specific breakdown was that in the county we are up 28, and in city of Lawton we’re up 70 cases,” Langford said. “Within the county we had two deaths this past week with seven deaths in the city.”

There have been 222 deaths from COVID-19 in Comanche County. The county has the fifth highest total case count in the state. Roughly 45 percent of county residents have been fully vaccinated, according to data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health.