Copperas Cove sees highest count of active COVID-19 cases to date
By LYNETTE SOWELL
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues its spread locally, positive cases of COVID-19 are at an all-time high within the city of Copperas Cove as of Monday.
“An overall increase of 60 active cases in the City of Copperas Cove is being reported for the previous seven days,” said Copperas Cove Deputy Fire Chief Gary Young in a Monday morning press release. Young also serves as the city’s Emergency Management Coordinator. He encouraged locals to continue to be vigilant in the measures to control the spread of COVID-19.
Monday’s update for cases in the city limits saw a total of 184 active cases out of a cumulative 642 cases within the city alone. Although a total of 22 cases dropped off the list, being considered no longer active, the new total case count reflects an overall increase of 82 cases from last week.
New cases range in age from three younger than 10 years old to two individuals in their 80s.
The age demographics with the largest numbers include eight cases each of those in their 20s and 30s, followed by the 10- to 19-year-old demographic, with seven cases.
Likewise, Coryell County saw a surge last week in new positive cases of COVID-19, with the overall count increasing within a few days by more than 100 new cases, reaching 1,137 positive cases on Friday, with 308 cases considered active. This number excludes cases among inmates at Texas Department of Criminal Justice facilities located in the county.
As of Friday, Nov. 20, there were 39 active cases among district students and staff in Copperas Cove ISD, heading into the Thanksgiving holiday week. Copperas Cove High School had 15 student cases and four staff cases, and Crossroads High School having one active case. Active case numbers increased a bit at S.C. Lee Junior High School, to include two student cases and four staff cases. Over at CCJHS, there was one student case and two staff cases. At CCISD prekindergarten and elementary campuses, there were a total of nine active cases, to include four students and five staff.
A total of 56 students and 35 staff in CCISD have had positive, test-confirmed cases between July 27 and Nov. 15. The majority of school-reported sources of infection were off campus, at 60, with 24 cases on campus, and seven unknown.
On Friday Nov. 20, Lampasas Mayor Misti Talbert announced that Lampasas County had its highest one-day increase in new COVID-19 cases and that the county had reached its highest count of active cases to date, at 75. Altogether, the county has had 535 total cases and 12 fatalities.
County emergency management coordinator: Probable cases increasing, but some good news
Coryell County Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Harrell discussed “probable” cases on Monday morning. Probable cases aren’t included in the county’s case numbers because they have not been verified.
“We’ve got more probable cases, and we’re going to see more and more probables because people don’t want to get tested, even though their significant other or one of their kids is positive. Or, maybe one of the parents doesn’t want to get tested. You have to assume that that family member has it because two or three people in that household have it,” Harrell said.
The lack of wanting to get tested could be part of something called “COVID fatigue.”
“People are so COVID-fatigued right now. People just don’t want to hear about COVID anymore. They want to put their head in the sand,” Harrell added.
He did say that there will be a survey issued in the county to see how many of the population would get a vaccine once it becomes available.
Pfizer Pharmaceuticals recently applied for an EUA, or Emergency Use Authorization, for its COVID-19 vaccination.
Harrell called this good news and hopes that within the next week to 10 days, they will hear if the federal Food & Drug Administration will approve the EUA so the vaccine can start being distributed immediately. Another pharmaceutical company, Moderna, is also not far behind Pfizer with its own vaccine.
“(Moderna will be) probably better for rural areas because the storage requirement is less than Pfizer’s, which requires extreme cold storage facility at 90 below zero,” Harrell said. “Moderna’s vaccine can be stored in a refrigerator for up to 30 days.
“Hopefully people will roll up their sleeves. It will not do much good if you have a vaccine, but if you don’t have a vaccination it is meaningless…people have to roll up their sleeves. We have to do at least 70 to 75 percent of the population to get herd immunity.”
On Monday morning, Governor Greg Abbott announced the distribution plan for the upcoming COVID-19 vaccination. The criteria includes allocations first for healthcare workers, “who fill a critical role in caring for and preserving the lives of COVID-19 patients and maintaining the health care infrastructure for all who need it”; frontline workers “who are at greater risk of contracting COVID-19 due to the nature of their work providing critical services and preserving the economy”; and protecting vulnerable populations “who are at greater risk of severe disease and death if they contract COVID-19.”
COVID-19 cases in Central Texas*
Bell County 1,098 active cases (7,912 total)
Burnet County 214 active cases (1,327 total)
Coryell County 308 active cases (1,137 total)
Copperas Cove (city) 184 active cases (642 total)
TDCJ in Coryell County 17 active cases (1,107 total)
Lampasas County 75 active cases (535 total)
McLennan County 1,429 active cases (13,375 total)
Williamson County 679 active cases (11,559 total)
*As of press time Monday, numbers from Texas DSHS, City of Copperas Cove, Coryell County, TDCJ COVID-19 dashboard, Bell County Public Health District