Coryell County numbers jump as state plays catchup on case numbers
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Coryell County released its most recent update for COVID-19 virus cases in the county as of Wednesday afternoon.
Between Tuesday and Wednesday’s reports, the case numbers jumped by 28, with the county’s COVID-19 tracker showing 248 total cases, with 164 cases currently active, 80 recovered, and 4 fatalities. The 248 excludes inmates housed at the Texas Department of Corrections within the county.
The 28 new cases include two women from Evant, one in her 60s and one in her 40s; a total of 19 in the Gatesville area; and seven listed as living in the Copperas Cove area.
The new cases in the Copperas Cove area have a demographic spread that includes three males between the ages of 10-19, a girl under the age of 10, a male and female in their 60s; and one woman in her 20s.
Coryell County Judge Roger Miller explained the COVID-19 tracker report dates, which is updated daily.
“The report date is the date that it is processed by the Texas Department of State Health Services,” Miller said. “It’s not the testing date, or the date that the results come back positive from the lab. That’s the date when the state processes the case.”
Miller said that what he’s seeing is a lag time is averaging about five days, and hence, the sudden jump in numbers.
“That’s based solely off of, I’m getting reports from Coryell Health when they test someone. When that address pops up on our list, it’s about five days after Coryell Health has identified this as a positive,” Miller said. “The state system is overwhelmed. There is no system at any governmental level that is prepared to handle what we are doing. The federal system is not well prepared.”
Miller said the state’s contact tracing, at least what he has seen locally in Coryell County, is lacking some information.
“Who are your closest friends and family members? What is your businesses and social environment? Personal is not the biggest threat…But if you to Walmart or church, and you sing in the choir, we need to know. And that is what we’re not getting from the state, because the state is overwhelmed and they have been from day one. They’re following a very antiquated model of what is contact tracing. This is not an investigation to convict someone. It is giving the big picture. If you work at a healthcare facility, we need to know.”
School districts in Coryell County planning to open with on-campus and virtual learning
Miller also addressed local school districts continuing to plan for reopening. He said he has no intention on stipulating when school districts within Coryell County should reopen.
On Wednesday, with cases continuing to increase in neighboring McLennan County, the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District ordered its school districts to delay opening campuses until after Sept. 7. However, distance learning would still take place.
“I don’t want to dictate to a 1A school the same mandate that would apply to a 6A school. What works in Copperas Cove, doesn’t work in Evant, Oglesby, or Jonesboro,” said Miller. “Those communities, and I’ve talked to two of their superintendents, will have noninvasive temperature screening for their school buses. When they pick up someone rural, and they get screened, and their temperature shows up, they won’t even let them on the bus...do you know what that would cost Copperas Cove ISD to do that?”
“If Copperas Cove didn’t want to open up their schools until November, I would support Dr. Burns on that. I’m not going to tell him he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He is an intelligent, educated man and he is making a decision based off his school district. For Matt Dossey in Jonesboro or David Moss out at Oglesby, I’m not going to say you can’t open your school because Copperas Cove can’t. That’s what the larger markets are losing sight of, when they put a mass order out there.”
Copperas Cove ISD set to open the 2020-2021 school year on-campus and at-home learning on Aug. 18. Gatesville ISD, with an enrollment of just over 2,700 for 2019-2020, is set to return to classes on-campus and virtual learning on Thursday, Aug. 13. Jonesboro ISD, with an enrollment of 328 students, announced Wednesday it would delay the start of classes to Aug. 31.
So far, there have been 14,028 tests conducted in Coryell County, with Coryell Health in Gatesville and Integrity Urgent Care in Copperas Cove being two of the facilities which offer testing. Coryell Health has also recently begun processing its tests in-house, with a turnaround time of approximately 48 hours.
Friday and Saturday in Killeen, there will also be free testing conducted a Leo Buckley Stadium from noon until 8 p.m., with preregistration required. Preregistration must be done online at https://bit.ly/Killeen_JULYTest.
Testing continues to increase in the state, with a total of 3,331,844 tests conducted, which includes a total of 3,104,148 viral tests and 227,696 antibody tests.
Texas cases by the numbers
As of Wednesday afternoon, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported a total of 351,618 positive cases. This includes an estimated 151,955 active cases, with an estimated 195,315 recoveries. On Wednesday, there were a total of 9,879 new cases in the state.
Currently there are 10,893 hospitalized across the state, several hundred more than Sunday afternoon. Locally in Trauma Region L, which encompasses both Coryell and Bell Counties, there are 84 hospitalized for COVID-19, a decrease of nine.
The state’s seven-day testing positivity rate continues to fall, and is a 14.18 percent, down from an all-time high of 17.49 percent last Thursday.