Copperas Cove coronavirus cases at 22: mobile testing sites set for Thursday
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Over the weekend, two more positive test results for coronavirus within the city of Copperas Cove added to the area numbers.
On Saturday, Bob Harrell, Coryell County Emergency Management Coordinator, said that a Copperas Cove woman in her 30s had tested positive. Then on Monday morning, Copperas Cove Deputy Fire Chief and Emergency Management Coordinator Gary Young issued a press release, announcing that a Copperas Cove woman in her 20s had also tested positive.
Altogether as of Monday morning, numbers in Copperas Cove remained at 22 cases, with 12 active cases, eight recovered, and two deceased.
Both Coryell County officials and Copperas Cove city officials announced on Friday a mask-wearing initiative, with the slogan “Be a COVID-19 superhero, wear a mask.”
The new cases in Copperas Cova and Gatesville, as well as at the Texas Department of Corrections facilities in Gatesville, bring the total countywide to 208.
Statewide, there are 38,869 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases as of the Texas Department of State Health Services daily update. More than half of those cases, or 21,022, are listed as recovered by the TDSHS. The trend over the past three days has been more than 1,000 new cases per day, but the number of those hospitalized for the virus has decreased.
To date, there have been 1,088 fatalities in the state of Texas, with 1,525 COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized. So far, there have been 513,978 tests conducted, 17,086 at public labs and 496,892 at private labs.
Mobile testing site on Thursday
Those who missed the opportunity to be tested for coronavirus will have another chance on Thursday, when the Texas Army National Guard will hold two mobile testing sites from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., at Copperas Cove Fire Station #2, located at the corner of Grimes Crossing Road and F.M. 1113, and at the Gatesville Civic Center.
There is no cost for the testing, but a reservation for the test must be scheduled in advance starting on Wednesday, May 13. Those wishing to receive a test, whether they have symptoms of COVID-19, or are a first responder or essential worker, may be tested. Registration must be done at www.txcovidtest.org or by calling 512-883-2400.
Those who make and receive an appointment for the Copperas Cove site will need to enter the testing location from Grimes Crossing Road.
On May 4, there was a testing site in Copperas Cove and in Gatesville, and results are in, with four out of 165 testing positive for the coronavirus, with 160 negative, and one result still pending as of Monday morning, said Deputy Fire Chief Young.
County judge discusses COVID-19 within county, TDCJ facilities
Coryell County Judge Roger Miller gave the county commissioners the most recent totals for the county, which includes 208 cases total, with 30 being active, 22 recovered, and 2 deceased. The remaining 156 cases are at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice facilities in Gatesville.
While the numbers continue to rise, there has not been follow-up from TDCJ about the status of the active cases.
“If you check (TDCJ) numbers reported on their website for the six units in Gatesville they have, they list 83 cases as of this morning. Again, the discrepancy in that, which continues to be a point of frustration for me, is two things: number one, they get reported at the location in the county where they are tested. However, according to Ms. Collier and Mr. Monroe, the region 6 director locally, within the TDCJ they continue move inmates around as needed. They do have hospital facilities they take them to and they recover there, but they may or may not come back to the unit they originated from. I won’t speculate on any other reasons. Also, there is no follow-up. We have no insight as to who has recovered or who has moved out or moved in.”
Miller said that he doesn’t believe that there is an intra-local agreement between TDCJ and the Texas Department of State Health Services for the TDCJ to continue to update them on the status of the inmate patients.
For Miller, he said what he focuses on are the active cases and the recovered cases. “Ultimately what we want to see is the active cases to become zero, and the recovered cases being whatever we had minus inmates, and hopefully we do not see the number two in the deceased column go any higher.”
He did say the prison system is still his number-one concern, given the number of employees going in and coming out of the correctional facilities, as well as the total number of inmates that are positive for the virus.
Judge Miller, as well as Mayor Bradi Diaz of Copperas Cove and Mayor Gary Chumley of Gatesville, sent a letter to Representative J.D. Sheffield, State Senator Dawn Buckingham, and State Senator Campbell, requesting that all TDCJ inmates and employees at the six units in Gatesville be tested, so the county can determine just how extensive the outbreak might be locally within the TDCJ system.
Within the next seven to 10 days, COVID-19 testing for all employees within the TDCJ system statewide will begin, with 750,000 tests being available for those employees, with a lab to be set up in the state for rapid turnaround time.
As of now, there is no commitment to testing all of the inmates, but Miller said they would continue to push for that.
“It’s not critical as a direct threat, but an indirect threat, and understanding what the threat is and the density of the infection helps us shape what our approach is and what we do as a county government.”
Be a COVID-19 “Superhero” campaign
Meanwhile, both Coryell County and cities like Copperas Cove within the county, have implement a mask-wearing campaign, with advertising to be a superhero by wearing a mask while in public.
“It is not a mandate, it has not been ordered, but it has been recommending by every level of government, every health agency in the governmental system, that people wear a mask in public and in situations where you cannot maintain a social distancing of six feet or more,” Miller said. “I know that that message has changed since the very beginning with the CDC, but it seems to be unanimous across the board. I have not seen any dissension within the governmental entities. I know there may be some private sector experts who have some dissension on that, but the message seems pretty clear and consistent, wear a mask.
“The intent is not to protect you from getting the virus, but it helps prevent if you have the virus, from spreading to others. The mask is your way of saying, ‘I care. I care about our fellow citizens in our commun8ity. I’m going to do everything I can to not spread the virus if I happen to have it.’”
Mayor Bradi Diaz issued a statement of her own in response to the mask campaign and reinforcing social distancing,, while Texas reopens.
“I also encourage the use of face coverings or masks when you are in a public location. Remember, a mask is to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 by the wearer as documented by the CDC and encouraged by the Governor,” Diaz wrote.
“Governor Abbott published the Open Texas guidance early last week and we will all be expected to endure this change in our way of life for a little while longer as we try to get our State reopened. Please continue to follow all the guidance that is provided and don’t let your guard down. While these steps are limiting, they are what is needed to keep us all safe. Please continue to be patient and before too long I am hopeful that this severe situation will be a mere memory for us.”