COVID-19 cases spike among TDCJ inmates in Coryell County
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Although active cases of COVID-19 have continued to decline throughout the state of Texas, cases among inmates housed at Texas Department of Criminal Justice facilities located in Coryell County have seen a dramatic spike during the past week.
On Wednesday afternoon, the TDCJ COVID-19 dashboard reflected a total of 607 active cases, plus 246 recoveries among the six units. The Hughes Unit has 580 active cases, plus 34 recoveries. Altogether, the case count for TDCJ units in Coryell County have had a total of 853 cases, factored into the overall cases numbered by the Texas Department of State Health Services. Those numbers don’t reflect employee cases, which are far fewer and are not necessarily residents within Coryell County.
The active case number is a sharp spike from the 308 noted on Sunday, Aug. 30. The Crain Unit also has active cases, at 27. The remainder of the units have no active cases, to include Mountain View, Murray, Hilltop, and Woodman State Jail.
As of Monday, the City of Copperas Cove’s weekly update noted 288 positive confirmed cases within the city limits, to include 76 active cases and 209 recovered/no longer active, and three fatalities.
Coryell County reported a total of 551 positive confirmed cases as of Wednesday, which includes 207 active cases, up from the 192 active noted on Monday. Recoveries have maintained at 338, and the county now counts six deceased.
The newest cases added on the county’s Sept. 1 and Sept. 2 reports include 14, all in the Copperas Cove area, except for one woman in her 30s who lives on Fort Hood in Coryell County.
They include one male age 10-19, a woman in her 20s, five individuals in their 30s, a man and woman in their 50s, one woman in her 60s, one man in his 70s, and three aged 80-plus. all were added between Aug. 28 and Sept. 1. Those are the dates reports were processed by Texas DSHS Region 7, and not necessarily the date test results returned.
CCISD sees first cases with new school year
Three weeks into the 2020-2021 school year, the Copperas Cove Independent School District has seen its first test-confirmed positive cases of the virus.
That number stood at five as of Wednesday afternoon, according to Wendy Sledd, CCISD’s Director of Communications.
Two are students at Copperas Cove High School, two are students at House Creek Elementary, and one is a member of the staff at Copperas Cove Junior High School.
Sledd explained the district’s notification process when there is a test-confirmed positive case for either a student or a staff member.
“As is required by the TEA, all parents/guardians of students on the campus are notified the same day that the school receives notification of a test-confirmed positive COVID-19 case,” Sledd said. “Students who are believed to have been in close contact with the infected student or staff member are notified by phone so everything can be explained clearly and all questions can be answered.”
Close Contact is defined by the TEA as: “a. Being directly exposed to infectious secretions (e.g., being coughed); or b. Being within 6 feet for a cumulative duration of 15 minutes, if both parties are not properly masked; c. Other factors defined by TEA. Either (a) or (b) defines close contact if it occurred during the infectious period of the case, defined as two days prior to symptom onset to 10 days after symptom onset.”
As of the first week of classes, a total of 4,254 students had enrolled for on-campus learning with CCISD.
Central Texas, state by the numbers: active cases continue to drop
Like Coryell County, Bell County’s cases continue to increase even as active cases decrease, with a total of 4,790 cases, 467 of those being active cases.
Lampasas County has seen a slight increase in cases, with a new reported total of 266 as of Wednesday, and active cases remaining at 20, with 238 recoveries.
Altogether, there are a total of 621,667 confirmed positive cases in the state of Texas, with an estimated 522,087 recoveries.
As of Wednesday, the active COVID-19 cases in the state of Texas number 86,710, at its lowest since July 4, when there were an estimated 91,759 active cases in the state of Texas. At that time, hospitalizations numbered 8,181 statewide.
As of Wednesday, Sept. 2, there are 4,149 hospitalized with lab-confirmed COVID-19 in Texas. In Hospital Region L, which also includes hospitals Bell and Coryell Counties, there are 50 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, with 281 available hospital beds, 32 available ICU beds, and 101 available ventilators. Fatalities are at 12,870, with 189 fatalities added on Wednesday afternoon.
The seven-day testing positivity rate statewide is at 9.64 percent as of Wednesday, lower than the 9.76 percent positivity rate of June 22.
Despite these decreasing numbers, Coryell County Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Harrell doesn’t believe the county, or the state, are anyplace near out of the woods where COVID-19 is concerned.
“We’re going to get upticks in infections. But if everyone wears their masks like we’re supposed to, it will minimize it,” Harrell said. “This should be second nature to everybody now. If they’re not following the guidance that’s been put out by CDC and the local health authority for the last months, they’re foolish. We’re not over this, by any means.”
COVID-19 cases in Central Texas*
Bell County 4,790 (467)
Burnet County 675 (99 active)
Coryell County 551 (207 active)
Copperas Cove (city) 288 (76 active)
TDCJ in Coryell County 853 (607 active)
Lampasas County 264 (21 active)
McLennan County 6,454 (1,832 active)
Williamson County 7,969 (0 active)
*As of press time Thursday, numbers from Texas DSHS, City of Copperas Cove, Coryell County, Bell County, TDCJ COVID-19 dashboard