Copperas Cove cases climb, yet active cases dip as of Monday
By LYNETTE SOWELL
As of Monday’s weekly report from the City of Copperas Cove, there are 62 active, positive-confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the city limits, out of 343 positive cases, which are up 19 overall from last week’s report. However, active cases within the city fell from 66 to 62.
Of the new cases added from last week, one was a boy younger than 10, added on Sept. 16; four were between the ages of 10-19; three in their 20s, three in their 30s, three in their 40s, two in their 50s, one male in his 60s, and one male in his 70s. The dates they were added to the city’s list range from as far back as Aug. 22 and as recent as Thursday, Sept. 17. Of note, the date the case is added to the city’s list is the date the city receives the report from county officials and not necessarily the date a test returned positive.
The Copperas Cove Independent School District has maintained its own list of test-confirmed positive, active cases among district staff and students. As of Thursday, Sept. 17, CCISD noted a total of three active cases among its students and staff, to include one staff member at Clements-Parsons Elementary, one staff member at Williams-Ledger Elementary, and one student at Williams-Ledger Elementary.
A staff member previously listed for some time at Copperas Cove Junior High School is no longer on the list.
Within Coryell County at large, there are 150 active cases as of Friday, an increase of four from Thursday to Friday. There are a total of 633 cases reported, also up four cases from Thursday’s update.
Active cases at Texas Department of Criminal Justice correctional facilities within Coryell County numbered just 28 on Sunday, out of a total of 1,131 total cases as of last Wednesday afternoon. This is down dramatically from last week’s active cases of more than 200.
As of yesterday, restaurants, retail stores, manufacturing facilities, gyms, offices, museums and libraries could open to 75 percent. Also, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other long-term care centers without any COVID-19 cases could reopen for visits. However, bars are still unable to reopen, with Governor Greg Abbott stating on Thursday that the state is focused on finding ways to get them open.
“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.”
Statewide, active cases continued to trend downward after a plateau late last week. On Sunday, active cases numbered 64,431, down by 2,981 from last Sunday’s 67,412 total active cases.
Total confirmed cases were at 688,534 as of Sunday. That’s an increase of 29,100 from last Sunday’s 659,434 total cases. So far, 14,893 have died from the virus in Texas.
The state’s seven-day testing positivity rate is down to 7.05 percent, with hosptizalitzions decreased to 3,081. Locally in Trauma Service Region L, there are 1,197 total staffed beds, and 37 of those are COVID-19 patients.
DSHS announced on its dashboard that it has revised its method for reporting total tests, effective Sept. 14.
“DSHS will now only report electronic lab results that have passed quality checks and have cleared into the state’s system of record, NEDSS, the National Electronic Disease Surveillance System. This improvement is possible due to recent upgrades to NEDSS, which now processes data more quickly.
“The revised methodology ensures data is fully deduplicated and that only tests that passed through the data submission quality checks are counted in Total Tests. Test submissions that error out of the system due to data quality issues will not be counted until they are successfully resubmitted and pass validation requirements. Additionally, Total Tests will no longer include faxes or aggregate counts received by various labs since there is not a timely way to complete data quality checks.”
Local entities have struggled to obtain timely reports from Texas DSHS, with some officials even issuing a statement of “no confidence” in the state’s handling of the numbers and reporting.
During last Monday’s meeting of the Coryell County commissioners, County Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Harrell talked about the numbers it receives from Region 7 of DSHS.
“The numbers have had a lot of errors. If you have not been following the national headlines and the state headlines, there has been a lot of confusion, with a lot of errors on DSHS and how they have been tabulating numbers,” Harrell said.
The main issue Coryell County has had with numbers is the reporting of case locations.
“We still continue to see a lot of entries without addresses and post office boxes. How do we handle that? Some of these folks actually live in other counties, so going forward, I am hoping that DSHS will improve their game,” Harrell told commissioners. “They contracted a couple of months ago to do contact tracing with a private organization and we are still not seeing a lot of improvement with the private organization, and we’re still not seeing a lot of improvement.”
Another area of concern is verifying the number of deaths in Coryell County, which numbers at 10, according to county officials.
“Ten minutes ago I received a text from our local health authority, Dr. Sheffield, and concerning the death information we were trying to get verified last week. That’s another issue we’ve had, is how many deaths do we have in Coryell County that are COVID-related?”
Harrell stressed the importance of testing for the virus, and reminded officials and residents that two opportunities are on Sept. 22 in Copperas Cove at the Central Fire Station on Main Street, from noon until 8 p.m., and likewise on Sept. 24 at the Gatesville Civic Center, also from noon until 8 p.m.
Harrell said this was a good opportunity for teachers as well as students to be tested.
“We have had an issue with the positivity (rate),” Harrell said, pointing out that nursing home residents and staff are required to be tested on a regular basis. So far, he said locally nursing homes and assisted living facilities have done well as far as outbreaks are concerned.
But, if two people test positive out of 10 at a facility tested, that’s a 20 percent positivity rate.
“The more testing we can do, will take us down on our positivity rate. If our positivity rate is over a specific amount, those nursing homes have to test more frequently, such as twice a week,” Harrell said. “The main thing is to test and continue to test. I cannot stress that enough,” Harrell said.
DSHS stated that its reporting of total tests on its dashboard prior to Sept. 13 are “raw test counts reported electronically and non-electronically and were unable to be de-duplicated,” and that starting on Sept. 13, the total test numbers include only validated tests in NEDSS. All data are provisional and subject to change over time.”
As of Sunday, a total of 6,042,747 tests have been conducted statewide, to include 5,593,488 molecular tests, with the remainder being antibody and antigen tests.
COVID-19 cases in Central Texas*
Bell County 373 active cases (5,306 total)
Burnet County 56 active (701 total)
Coryell County 150 active cases (633 total)
- Copperas Cove (city) 62 active cases (343 total)
- TDCJ in Coryell County 28 active cases (1,131 total)
Lampasas Co 20 active cases (309 total)
McLennan Co 456 active cases (7,487 total)
Williamson Co 160 active cases (8,385 total)
*As of press time Monday, numbers from Texas DSHS, City of Copperas Cove, Bell County, TDCJ COVID-19 dashboard