PRESS RELEASE: COVID-19 UPDATE
January 22, 2021
As of 5pm on 1/21/2021, Somervell county has 933 total cases since the beginning of the pandemic, and a current case load of 46 active cases. We had a small spike in active cases two weeks ago, with daily active cases in the 60-70 range on average. For the last ten days we have decreased our numbers to the 40-50 range. Despite this good news, there is still work to be done.
The most current numbers are found at: https://dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus then click on the button that says TEXAS CASE COUNTS. Moving forward, this will be the best place to get information regarding local numbers.
There have been many questions about what the definitions of “confirmed” and “probable” cases are. For an excellent discussion of this, the following link will lead to a video from Dr. Shuford, who is the Chief of Epidemiology for the State of Texas. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vatb7Q_KA8c&t=59s Please give it a watch. It is very clear and well done.
In our county, we have widespread viral activity in families, institutions, and work places. Multiple studies have suggested that the virus has become more contagious in the last several months. The sheer number of sick people continues to overwhelm the healthcare system. Preventing illness continues to be the best way to help keep more people safe. To give you an idea of why this is important, statewide there is 1 hospital bed per 476 residents. For the DFW Trauma Service Area that we are part of, there is 1 bed for every 513 residents. There are only about 60 available ICU beds in our TSA at this time for 8 million people. That would be fine if it was only COVID, but patients with heart attacks, strokes, trauma, cancer, and many other illnesses continue to need those beds as well.
If you choose to go out, or need/have to go to work, please exercise responsibility and wear a mask, especially if you have any possible exposure to the virus. It is very common that people are contagious for anywhere from 24-48 hours prior to becoming symptomatic. During those hours is when wearing a mask truly helps to protect those around you. If you are not feeling well, please stay home, especially if you think you might have had exposure to someone with the virus. Mask wearing in our community continues to be low, especially given the continued elevation of cases of COVID-19. I would ask and recommend that people return to more common usage of masks.
Statewide, levels of COVID-19 are still high, but appear to have reached a plateau. With flu season starting, now is not the time for people to get complacent. We have seen a handful of influenza cases so far, and it is likely to get worse. Mask wearing and social distancing can help keep flu cases down as well as future COVID-19 cases. Please do not let your guard down. Do not let COVID fatigue overwhelm you. We must do better to stay safe, and keep the others around us safe and healthy.
Vaccinations are starting to be available in surrounding areas and communities. From what I have been able to learn, the allocations are typically smaller that the demand for the vaccine. I am very hopeful that we will have vaccine available in Glen Rose the first week in February, but that has yet to be confirmed by the State of Texas. I am sure it will not be a large enough amount to satisfy the demand, but we will make every effort to continue to secure more vaccine in the near future. Please continue to be patient, and if you can get the vaccine from a different provider, please feel free to do so.
Please, if you know, or are suspicious that you have been exposed to COVID-19, stay home. If you are concerned that you might have contracted Covid-19, please talk to your healthcare provider about getting tested.
Locally, we are also still limited by the State and TEA guidelines, and I will continue to work with Judge Chambers and Mr. Rotan as we try to navigate these challenging times.
As always, contact tracer activity is ongoing with all new positive results, and all results are being reported to the State of Texas per DSHS guidelines. Most contact tracing is performed by Texas Health Trace, and can be initiated online if patients wish. It would be helpful if you give the state your physical address, and not a PO Box.
Please be mindful that we are all neighbors, please respect the privacy of others. The hospital, county, city and school districts are all required to follow HIPAA rules. It is Glen Rose Medical Center’s policy not to release any demographic or patient information due to HIPAA laws.
Want to know more?
Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) website and Texas 2-1-1 remain the best sources of information for Somervell residents regarding COVID-19 testing and self-protection measures. DSHS updates their county-by-county tracking map daily at https://dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/.
Now is a very good time to look in on the vulnerable and isolated in our community. There is continued evidence of depression and anxiety being a problem for our isolated neighbors and family members. Call a neighbor just to check in!
When in groups larger than 6 persons (outside of your household), wearing masks, and aggressive hand sanitation is still indicated. Social distancing is still important. Please be safe.
If you get sick and test positive for COVID-19, please talk with your health care provider about treatment options. For patients at a high risk for hospitalization or death from COVID-19, there are treatments available that can help prevent more serious cases and hospitalizations. Please contact your healthcare provider for more information. These treatments are more effective when used as early as possible in the course of the illness. Please do not dose yourself with agricultural pharmaceuticals in an effort to prevent infection with this virus.
I appreciate everyone’s continued time and efforts in fighting this disease, none of us are in this alone. Together we can keep our community strong, safe, and moving forward.
Steven Vacek, M.D.
Glen Rose HealthCare Inc.
Somervell County Local Health Authority