Copperas Cove case count rises, fewer than 100 active cases in city
By LYNETTE SOWELL
During the Monday morning meeting of the Coryell County commissioners, Coryell County released its most recent update for COVID-19 virus cases.
The City of Copperas Cove also released its weekly update on Monday morning, noting that there are a total of 141 confirmed positive cases, with 94 cases being active and 45 recovered.
Overall, however, Coryell County Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Harrell said that Coryell County’s numbers have “exponentially increased” in the month of July for positive COVID-19 infections.
“With the governor’s executive order that was published July 2, that tells me that people are either ignoring it or not paying any attention to it. I believe that a lot of businesses are not enforcing it, so we’re going to continue to have increases in infection.”
Coryell County Judge Roger Miller spent a few moments on Monday morning, wading through the numbers on the Texas Department of State Health Service’s report.
According to Texas DSHS, there are 553 cases in Coryell County, with 141 being active cases, as of Sunday.
Removing the Texas Department of Criminal Justice inmates cases, that leaves 309 cases, 212 active, 93 recovered, and four deceased, according to Miller.
“That’s a 190-case increase from July 1-25, a little less than four weeks,” Miller said. One July 1, our total case count was 118. So you can see, that’s a significant increase. In the last week, the largest percentage jump has been in our 20- to 29-year-old group, 13.5 percent. Between 60-80-plus is about 12 percent, all combined. Those numbers have been relatively consistent over the past couple of weeks.”
Miller again took issue with the state including “probable positive” cases in with the lab-confirmed cases.
“As I’ve preached all along, the numbers just aren’t the numbers. We are getting probables in there – probables are a subjective evaluation. I extract out the probables,” Miller told the commissioners. “We’re continuing to get cases that are not within our county, but might be close to our county. We got several in, Friday or Saturday, about 10-12 cases…that are a report number, report date, an age and a gender. No address, nothing we can verify that they are even in our county. That’s important to me, because not only do I want to report to the county, but geographically within the county so our residents can see if things are starting to flare up in particular areas.”
As of Saturday, Miller said the case count was 309, but he extracts the probables and out of county cases.
“Out of that 309, 212 are currently active cases reported by DSHS. In that, we’ve got cases that go back well into the first of June. I can’t say with any level of certainty that those cases are active, other than they’re still being reported as active. Because again, I don’t believe the follow-up has been done with those people to see if they have been retested.”
Miller thinks the 212 active number might be a little high, and that the 93 recovered is on the low side. He also said the state is still not counting a 4th COVID-19 related death, as identified by justice of the peace in the Copperas Cove area.
“(DSHS) is reflecting three, but I believe based on personal knowledge on the ground is actually four.”
He said that Texas DSHS continues to be overwhelmed with the pandemic and the case load, and has recently begun using Texas Trace, a private contractor that is now doing the contact tracing on behalf of the state.
“With that, we are trying to get the number as close and as accurate as possible. We’re not trying to hide anything from anyone. We want to be completely transparent so that the individual citizens can assess and evaluate on their own what the level of severity is.”
School districts reopening:
A “fluid” situation
Miller again discussed the area school district plans to reopen campuses in light of the pandemic, noting that he has received phone calls from educators and citizens at large, after both Bell and McLennan Counties ordered their school districts to delay opening campuses until after Sept. 7.
“Again, I’ve said this before: one size doesn’t fit all. I think it would be foolish of me to presume that I can create an order that would be appropriate and applicable to all the school districts in Coryell County. When we go from three school districts that are 1A, and we’ve got one district that is 4A, one that is 6A, it’s impossible.
“Along with that, I have complete faith and confidence in the reopening plans of each of the school districts are implementing, and there are some distinct differences with all of the plans.
“Each of those district administrators have really thought through the challenges unique to their particular school district, so in saying that, I support all the plans that have been submitted and I will not delay the reopening of schools as a countywide action. If the individual district thinks they need to delay some of that, they can.”
COVID-19 throughout Texas
Testing continues to increase in the state, to include 3,369,975 viral tests and 234,534 antibody tests, with 10,751 positive antibody tests. In Coryell County, there have been a total of 14,096 tests.
As of Sunday afternoon, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported a total of 381,656 positive cases. This includes an estimated 147,511 active cases, with an estimated 229,107 recoveries. On Sunday, there were a total of 5,810 new cases in the state.
Currently there are 10,075 hospitalized across the state. Locally in Trauma Region L, which accounts for healthcare facilities in Coryell and Bell Counties, there are 68 hospitalized for COVID-19. The state’s seven-day testing positivity rate is at 13.76 percent.
Judge Miller discussed testing delays state and nationwide, and where Coryell County is with testing and that some manufacturers nationwide have had difficulty keeping up with the demand for testing supplies.
“That being said, I have talked with our local hospital, and they have made it very clear that the company they receive their testing supplies through ahs a good stockpile on hand, for the foreseeable future, and there is no shortage of testing at Coryell Healthcare system. I encourage everyone to use that resource if they need a test done.”
Bob Harrell did note that the city of Evant will be having a testing location around Aug. 18, with walkup oral swab testing available. There is no confirmed date yet for another mobile testing site in Copperas Cove.