Getting counted and staying safe: the census and COVID-19

Published: Jul. 10, 2020 at 6:45 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - If someone still has not responded to the census by August 11, an enumerator (census worker) will show up to their door as a follow-up.

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, though, census workers are having to take a few more precautions.

Karen Montgomery, planning administrator for the City of Wichita Falls, said they are still too far away from the goal of getting every resident counted.

“So we still have more people that need to get counted,” she said, “especially locally.”

As census workers take the street this summer, Montgomery said changes had to be made to ensure their safety, and yours.

Every worker will be required to wear a mask while on their rounds and take a course through the federal government that outlines proper social distancing and safety practices.

“Then that way they are prepared on proper social distancing and interaction at a safe distance to protect themselves and others,” Montgomery explained.

Of the 58.9 percent of people that have self-reported in Wichita Falls, 44-percent of those have done it online.

Montgomery said if more people can complete their census before workers head out, whether it’s online or over the phone, the safer it will be.

“Also it helps keep you safe because it’s one less interaction with someone in this community that you do not know,” she said.

The new deadline to complete your census is October 31, and nonprofit leaders say now more than ever they need everyone counted.

“The money follows the numbers so we want to make sure we county everybody we possibly can so that the Texoma region gets as much money possible as it deserves,” said Steve Sparks, CEO of Faith Mission.

“But we’re not at the finish line,” added Montgomery, “and we need to make sure we get there before the end of October.”

To learn more about the census, click here.

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