State COVID-19 numbers vs local continue to not match

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  • State COVID-19 numbers vs local continue to not match
    State COVID-19 numbers vs local continue to not match
  • OHS TEACHER TIFFANY ESPARZA (left) gives hand sanitizer to Declan Perez after he completed the screening process on the first day of school. SUBMITTED PHOTO
    OHS TEACHER TIFFANY ESPARZA (left) gives hand sanitizer to Declan Perez after he completed the screening process on the first day of school. SUBMITTED PHOTO
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The Texas Department of State Health Services reported Crockett County to be at 160 total COVID-19 cases Monday.

Susan Bilano, director with the Family Health Center of Ozona, reported Monday that since Friday, Aug. 21, Crockett County has had six additional positive cases.

The DSHS website reported 11 active cases for Crockett County Monday with four fatalities and 145 recovered.

Crockett County has also conducted 700 total tests, according to the state website.

Crockett County CCSD has reported three student positive cases since school started on Aug. 17. Two of students attend Ozona High School and the third one is at Ozona Elementary School.

School district officials are contacting parents whose child may have come in close contact with the positive students, as well as sanitizing buildings and following screening and face mask protocols.

The district also gave notifications through email and on social media.

All cases were also reported to local and state health officials, as required.

Full school guidelines can be found on the district’s website at ozonaschools.net.

Last week, Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath told school superintendents that school districts will be required to report confirmed COVID-19 cases to the state within 24 hours.

The Texas Education Agency and Department of State Health Services will track and report cases that spring up in school communities across the state as districts reopen classrooms while the virus is still spreading.

Morath gave very little information during his phone call with superintendents about exactly what school districts will be required to report and promised to release more details next week. The state will publicly report total COVID-19 numbers in schools each week, he said.

“This is necessary to inform policymakers but also just parents, school leadership, really everybody on the number of COVID-19 cases that are happening on campus, and what the implications of those COVID-19 cases are,” Morath said.

Superintendent Raul Chavarria said the district is waiting for the link to be provided and the district will report as required.

There is no federal government effort to track all infections in schools, but some researchers are trying to fill the gaps. Some states are tracking such data but not releasing it publicly.

“This information will be submitted to DSHS any time there is a positive case in a campus community. TEA is collaborating with superintendents on the reporting process and will finalize it in the coming days. As a result, it’s important to note that this data collection effort will be updated based on the input received from Texas school districts,” the TEA and DSHS said in a joint statement.

Health experts say transparency from school districts, child care centers and the state is critical as parents make decisions about their children’s education and wellbeing — and as researchers try to understand the risks of in-person education. Although the data will be imperfect, scientists can learn from it as long as they recognize its limitations.

While research shows that children are less likely than adults to suffer severe symptoms of COVID-19, they are still at risk of becoming sick enough to require admission to intensive care units. Children with preexisting conditions like obesity and chronic lung disease have been found to be more likely to suffer a more serious course of the disease. And kids can transmit COVID-19 to their teachers or families.

A recent report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Black and Hispanic children were much more likely to be hospitalized than white children. Just over half of Texas’ public school students are Hispanic, and about 13% are black.

Experts say precautionary measures — like mandatory mask-wearing, physical distancing, splitting children into small cohorts, sanitization and ventilation — are critical to keeping students and staff safe in classroom settings.

The City of San Angelo reported Monday, Aug. 24, 122 total for Crockett County.

The city also reported 49 total deaths for Tom Green County with 37 of those being Tom Green County residents and 12 being out-of-county residents, including some from Crockett County.

San Angelo also reported Monday that 43 people are currently hospitalized and 12 patients are in ICU with COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the number of hospitalizations in the state has been trending steadily downward since a peak in July. Experts believe that a statewide mask mandate, which Gov. Greg Abbott issued in early July, has helped slow the spread of the virus.

Hospitalizations statewide have dropped by a quarter in the last week.

On Monday, 5,019 Texans are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, that is 1,181 less than an week ago.

Also on Monday, 2,754 new cases were reported and 11,395 deaths were reported, which is 25 more deaths reported than the day before and 1,361 more than a week ago.

For more information visit, www.dshs.state.tx.us.

- Texas Tribune contributed this article.