PRESS RELEASE: Coronavirus COVID-19
August 20, 2020
Somervell County, Texas now has a total of 154 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 27 of our residents currently have active infections. At the time of writing this, all other active cases are currently under in-home isolation and care. Using the guidelines from the State of Texas DSHS, we currently have 3 county residents who have died as a result of their COVID-19 infections. Our condolences and prayers go out to their families and friends. We also have had two known deaths of patients who either died with COVID-19, but from another cause, or died shortly after recovering from their COVID-19 infection. Again, our thought and prayers go out to their families and friends during these very trying times. All of these patients had significant medical problems and/or risk factors. We have had 122 residents recover from this illness. There are 5 cases currently pending demographic confirmation.
Since 8/1/20 GRMC has done PCR testing on about 247 patients, with 37 positive results. This is a positive test rate of about 15%. Since March, GRMC has performed PCR testing on about 858 patients. 135 different patients have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Duplicate positive test results have been removed from those totals. Almost exactly half of those patients, are Somervell County residents. The rest of our positive cases are people who had their tests performed in other counties.
We currently have continuing significant evidence of community and institutional spread in Somervell County, as well as in our neighboring counties. A large percentage of our community spread is between family members, however, recently the amount of community spread is decreasing. The risk level to all Somervell County residents is still substantial. 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.
COVID-19 will continue to impact our community. Now that we have gone back to school, I would like to remind people that social distancing, aggressive hand hygiene, and wearing masks in appropriate situations, are the best ways to protect themselves from getting the virus. These same recommendations help to protect others, especially in the event someone has become infected, and has yet to show any signs or symptoms of the disease. Data suggests that the 24 hours prior to the onset of the illness, is the most infectious point in the course of the illness. Currently, there is no evidence of spread within our schools. I caution against assuming that we are “OK.” It is far too early to assume that we will not have any spread due to opening schools. I suspect that we will have some cases, so we should all work hard to limit the impact of those cases.
Please be mindful that we are all neighbors, respect the privacy of others and follow HIPAA guidelines. It is Glen Rose Medical Center’s policy not to release any demographic or patient information due to HIPAA law.
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/.
As a community, we continue to experience a slight decrease in new cases over the last two weeks. I am hopeful we may have peaked. We will know a lot more in the coming 3-4 weeks. It is very hard to predict, now that we have gone back to school, how this will affect the rate of infections in our community. We will continue to monitor the situation carefully. I feel very comfortable in saying that I believe Mr. Rotan, the teachers, and staff of GRISD are doing everything they can to decrease the risks that this infection will pose to our children, and by extension, to our families. This plan is very thorough, and comprehensive. It also mitigates the risks to our teachers and staff, and will help to keep them healthy as well. Parents, please recognize, that if your child is ill, it is not ok to give them Tylenol or ibuprofen in order to get them to school. Please keep your children home if they are sick.
Unfortunately, further deaths in our community from COVID-19 are going to be difficult to avoid. Please continue to work together to minimize these risks.
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