By Jon Schroeder

The Cove Herald

There’s a new member of the Coryell County team, but unlike many of the others, he’s volunteering for the position.

At their Dec. 26 meeting, the Coryell County commissioners appointed Dr. J.D. Sheffield the new county health authority, replacing Dr. William Floyd, who retired a few years ago, Firth said.

Sheffield works at Hillcrest Clinic in Gatesville. He was educated at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Worth and served his residency at Southern Colorado Family Medicine in Pueblo, Colorado.

For the county, Sheffield will help coordinate with the state and take a leading role in cases of emergencies, including pandemics.

“The primary function of Doctor Sheffield in this capacity is to provide medical coordination with the state,” said County Judge John Firth, citing “major epidemics or other major health risks that we could encounter within the county” as examples of situations which the county might call on Sheffield for additional leadership.

Firth said the position also ties in with the county’s recently restarted Local Emergency Planning Committee, with which Sheffield has also been involved.

The Texas Health and Safety Code says health authority exists “to administer state and local laws relating to public health in the municipality’s or county’s jurisdiction.”

The state requires that each of Texas’ 254 counties have in place a local health authority or a health department; since the population of Coryell County falls below the 250,000 mark, the county is not required by law to have a health department in place.

According to the Handbook of Texas, the position of County Health Officer was created in 1909. In its current form, the County Health Authority has existed since the 1980s.

Contact Jon Schroeder at or call (254) 547-0428

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