Number of local daily positive COVID-19 cases decreasing headed into holiday weekend

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  • Number of local daily positive COVID-19 cases decreasing headed into holiday weekend
    Number of local daily positive COVID-19 cases decreasing headed into holiday weekend
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Family Health Center of Ozona officials reported Monday that while the number of daily positive COVID-19 cases in Crockett County are slowing, that doesn’t mean the virus is gone.

The Texas Department of State Health Services reported Monday that Crockett County has 162 total cases.

Susan Bilano, director with the Family Health Center of Ozona, said that is still not fully correct.

“It’s still about 20 or more positive cases behind. I would like to say that it does seem like the number of positives in our community is slowing down. I don’t want to give anyone false hope that this virus has moved on, because it hasn’t. It is still very important that we all continue to take all the precautions just as we have been doing, in order to protect ourselves, those around us and those that we love,” Bilano said.

The DSHS website reported 6 active cases for Crockett County Monday with four fatalities and 150 recovered.

Crockett County has also conducted 807 total tests, according to the state website.

With schools reopening, and Labor Day weekend ahead, many health experts are anticipating an increase in cases.

“I think we’re all holding our breath on … what opening schools and opening colleges and universities is going to do. ... So I think we’re going to see a surge, I think we’ll see a surge of positive cases in the next 10 days to two weeks. That [student] population more than likely will do pretty well. But another 10 days after that we may see those that they come in contact with ... may not do so well,” said Dr. Ron Cook, professor at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and the city of Lubbock’s public health authority.

After Memorial Day and Fourth of July, Texas saw a surge in COVID-19 cases. State health officials are urging the public the be cautious and be safe.

“We’ve got a holiday weekend coming up [Labor Day weekend], and we saw what happened Fourth of July and Memorial Day. The fact that schools are opening is a big experiment, particularly the elementary schools and the role of children in the spread of this virus, and there’s a lot we don’t know. … Colleges — it’s less of an experiment because I think we know what’s going to happen. Eighteen-year-olds, first of all, think they’re invincible. They’re not going to die of anything. They’re social animals. They haven’t seen their friends since March. It is understandable that they are not going to keep up masking and, particularly, physical distancing. And anytime you get a lot of people together, especially when 40 to 50% of them are infected and don’t know that they are, there’s a possibility of spread,” said Catherine Troisi, infectious disease epidemiologist at UTHealth School of Public Health in Houston.

So far, 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.

Starting Tuesday, Sept. 8, Texas will require school districts to file weekly reports on new COVID-19 cases among students, teachers or staff, state education officials announced Thursday.

School administrators must fill out forms including any new COVID-19 cases their schools were notified of the previous week, whether the cases were contracted on or off campus, and whether the entire campus closed as a result. The reports must include any student, teacher or staff member who participates in any on-campus activity and has been confirmed to have a COVID-19 infection.

State leaders had previously considered requiring school districts to report confirmed cases within 24 hours.

“We heard loud and clear from our pilot group of superintendents that folks are being pulled in different directions, and we are working to try and minimize duplicate data entry as much as possible with our public health partners,” Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath told superintendents on a call Thursday.

The Texas Education Agency and Department of State Health Services will collaborate on collecting and updating the data, which will be published statewide and sorted by district. As the first public schools began reopening their doors this month, many reported staff members and students who arrived with COVID-19 or caught it in athletic practice.

Public health experts have warned that reopening schools in the fall would undoubtedly result in infections on campus, as Texas’ COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths climbed this summer. 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.

Research shows that children are less likely than adults to suffer severe symptoms of COVID-19, but they still are at risk of becoming sick enough to require admission to intensive care units. And they can transmit the virus to their teachers or families.

Health experts say that transparency from districts and the state is crucial to help parents make decisions about their children and families.

Texas DSHS also reported a decrease in hospitalizations Monday, news that state health officials fear might send a message that life can return “back to normal,” Troisi said.

San Angelo also reported Monday that 27 people are currently hospitalized and 4 patients are in ICU with COVID-19.

On Monday, 4,203 Texans are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, that is 816 less than an week ago, and the lowest number since June.

“I’ve got a forecast and I’ve got a fear. My forecast is hopeful, but my fear is that history could repeat itself. We had what we thought was a surge in April that turned out not to really be a surge, but sort of an appetizer. And then we hit all the events of the summer. Well, now we’ve come to the backside of that surge, and my fear is that we’ll lose our focus. With upcoming holidays, school reopenings, a looming flu season, there are a lot of dynamics at play that could reignite the spread of the virus. So the reality is if we are going to be able to resume some semblance of life as we knew it before COVID-19, we need to adopt good masking, distancing and hygiene practices for a good long while — for months to come. We will have a vaccine, we’ll get there, and this will end. But it’s not going to be tomorrow — so I think that’s important for people to get their heads around that. We’re in this — all of us together — for the long haul,” said Dr. James McDeavitt, dean of clinical affairs at Baylor College of Medicine.

The City of San Angelo reported Monday, Aug. 31, 126 total for Crockett County.

The city also reported 56 total deaths for Tom Green County with 40 of those being Tom Green County residents and 16 being out-of-county residents, including some from Crockett County. Texas DSHS is reporting six deaths for Crockett County.

Statewide Monday, 2,374 new cases were reported and 12,536 deaths were reported, which is 26 more deaths reported than the day before and 1,141 more than a week ago.

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

'I don’t want to give anyone false hope that this virus has moved on, because it hasn’t. It is still very important that we all continue to take all the precautions just as we have been doing, in order to protect ourselves, those around us and those that we love.'

Susan Bilano

Director of the Family Health Center of Ozona

COVID-19

Closures & Updates

The following county buildings remain CLOSED to the public due to COVID-19 pandemic:

• J. Cleo Thompson Wellness Center

• Crockett County Senior Center

• Crockett County Civic and Youth Center

• Crockett County Public Library

• Crockett County Fair Park Convention Center

• Crockett County Care Center

- Crockett County Commissioners’ Court