The number of active cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has drastically decreased, while the number of recovered cases has increased.
As of Monday, May 18, there were two active cases with 31 recovered and three deaths. The numbers prove that Calhoun County is flattening the curve.
Memorial Medical Center’s Chief Nursing Officer Erin Clevenger believes the county is flattening the curve after experiencing heightened active cases in March and April.
“We were seeing one or two new cases reported several days out of a week. We never experienced a sharp peak in any of the numbers,” Clevenger said.
One of the main reasons “stay at home” orders went into effect was so the hospitals would not get overwhelmed with patients. Clevenger said MMC never reached that point.
“We never got to a point where our hospital capacity was exceeded or to where people who needed medical care couldn’t obtain it,” she stated.
Gov. Greg Abbott began the first phase of reopening Texas at the beginning of May. The reopening, coupled with Easter in mid-April, caused concern that the numbers would spike. Fortunately, there was not a drastic spike in numbers.
“We expected to see the number of cases go up after Easter. As much as you can tell people to stay home and not gather, it is very hard to actually do that. For the most part, people did alter their Easter celebrations, and I think that is why we saw the number creep up slightly rather than experience a sharp increase,” Clevenger said.
Clevenger stated she thinks it is too soon to tell if the numbers will rise with the state of Texas slowly reopening.
There have been two drive-through testing sites in Calhoun County. The first drive-through test results yielded one out-of-county positive case out of 24 people tested. The other 23 people tested negative for COVID-19.
Roughly two weeks after the first drive-through tests, 35 people were tested, and all tests were negative.
Clevenger explained why nearly all the tests came back negative.
According to Clevenger, she believes they were testing first responders and healthcare workers regardless of symptoms, so there may have been several asymptomatic people tested through those criteria.
“Also, a person only had to have one symptom on the list to get approved for testing, so it is likely that people who were experiencing other illnesses such as allergies, common colds, or GI issues were tested. Lastly, another reason I could see for no one testing positive at the drive-through site is that most people who are experiencing a range of COVID-19 symptoms do not wait for a certain day to seek testing. They tend to call the hospital or their doctor to arrange testing as soon as they feel sick,” Clevenger explained.
The number of active cases in the county is two, and Clevenger believes the early, swift action by local officials and the residents were the reason for the numbers not to spike and the active cases to decrease.
“I think it ( the number of active cases) has dropped significantly because of early social distancing, people using extensive hygiene measures, and effective isolation by the people who tested positive for COVID-19,” Clevenger said. “Since most people are being more careful in general and not able to gather in close proximity to others either by choice or by mandate, the virus hasn’t had a chance to run rampant in our area.”
At the beginning of the pandemic, the county, along with the hospital, would send out new cases whenever they would receive the confirmation of a positive test. Since then, that has slowly decreased to once a day and not getting any new numbers over the weekends.
“We did notice over the weekend that our DSHS region did not send data over the weekend, so it is possible that they may start to send information out only during the week very soon,” Clevenger said. “I don’t think they will stop sending numbers anytime soon, but I do think that they will scale back on the frequency that they send them.”
“If the activity stays down the way it is currently, I think it would be appropriate for them to change the frequency of reporting,” Clevenger explained.
The county has utilized its Code Red service since the beginning of the pandemic but sent out its last code in regard to COVID-19 unless something drastically changes.