Abbott reopens most of state to 75%, nursing homes may allow visitors
By LYNETTE SOWELL
On Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced that the phased reopening of the state of Texas is resuming, in areas where hospitalizations for COVID-19 make up less than 15 percent of all hospitalizations in the state trauma service areas.
Coryell and Bell Counties are located in Trauma Service Area L, which as of Wednesday had only 37 hospitalized for the virus out of a total of 1,070 staffed hospital beds.
Abbott announced that all restaurants, retail stores, manufacturing facilities, offices, museums, gyms and libraries may open to 75 percent starting Monday, Sept. 24.
Also, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other long-term care centers may reopen for essential caregiver visits, but must comply with health protocols and there must be no COVID cases at those facilities. He added that hospitals can return to elective surgical procedures immediately.
However, he did say that “because bars are nationally recognized as COVID-spreading locations, they still are unable to open at this time.”
“However, it is important for them to note that we are focused on finding ways to get them open,” Abbott said. “We need to see COVID numbers to continue to be contained, and we must work with the bars on effective strategies that when they do open, the possibility of spread of COVID is contained.”
He said that bars have offered helpful ideas and his office will continue to work with them on that process.
Abbott pointed to decrease in unemployment, cut almost in half from 13 percent, and that hospitalizations are down by two-thirds statewide.
However, he did not let up on mandates such as the wearing of face coverings.
“Some want to open Texas 100 percent as though COVID no longer is a threat. The fact is, COVID does still exist and most Texans remain susceptible,” said Abbott. “If we fully reopen Texas without limits, without safe practices, it could lead to an unsustainable increase in COVID that would require the possibility of being forced to ratchet back down.
Three regions are left out of the announcement, to include the Rio Grande Valley, Laredo, and Victoria with higher hospitalizations.
Copperas Cove, and ISD numbers
Coryell County has seen a downward trend between new cases and active cases, according to a COVID-19 dashboard maintained by the University of Texas School of Public Health.
The dashboard compiles and tracks data as provided by the Texas Department of State Health Services and focuses on trends at the county level, as well as collections of counties within the state’s trauma service areas, public health regions, and metropolitan areas.
After a round of mass testing at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice correctional facilities within Coryell County, active cases having dropped at those facilities to 287 as of Wednesda, out of a total of 1,131 total cases.
According to the trends as shown by the UT School of Public Health, the case ratio in Coryell County has improved by 87.62 percent when compared to the previous week.
As of Monday’s weekly report from the City of Copperas Cove, there are 66 active, positive-confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the city limits, out of a total of 324 cumulative cases reported.
The Copperas Cove Independent School District listed a total of three test-confirmed positive, active cases among district staff and students as of Wednesday, Sept. 16.
Two are staff members, one at Copperas Cove Junior High School, and one at Clements Parsons Elementary. There is one active student case at Williams Ledger Elementary.
Another student at Williams Ledger is no longer on the list, and two student cases previously listed for House Creek are no longer on the list.
Within Coryell County at large, there are 146 active cases, with a total of 629 cases reported, 473 recovered, and 10 fatalities as per the county’s Thursday, Sept. 17 update.
New cases listed dated this week include nine in the Copperas Cove area, to include a male under the age of 10, two males in their 20s, three females in their 40s, a male and female in their 50s, and a male in his 60s. The remaining cases since Sept. 14 are from the Gatesville area (two) and Oglesby (two).
Active cases are up slightly statewide after a continued downward trend for the month of September. On Wednesday, active cases climbed to 69,457, up from a total of 67,412 active cases on Sunday.
Total cases were at 674,772 total confirmed cases as of Wednesday afternoon, up from 659,434 total confirmed positive cases on Sunday afternoon. So far, there have been 14,478 fatalities from the virus. The state’s seven-day testing positivity rate is now down to 7.83 percent.
COVID-19 active cases in Central Texas*
Bell County 265 active cases (5,149 total)
Burnet County 57 active (693 total)
Coryell County 146 active cases (629 total)
- Copperas Cove (city) 66 active cases (324 total)
- TDCJ in Coryell County 287 active cases (1,131 total)
Lampasas County 14 active cases 299 active)
McLennan County 487 active (7,231 total)
Williamson County 109 active (8,252 total)
*As of press time Thursday, numbers from Texas DSHS, City of Copperas Cove, Bell County, Coryell County, TDCJ COVID-19 dashboard