The number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases continues to climb in Calhoun County, and health and local officials cite several different factors that contribute to the increase.
Memorial Medical Center’s Chief of Nursing Officer Erin Clevenger believes a large part of the increase is widely due to the reopening of Texas. She made it clear that she was not advocating for or against it.
“I think as businesses, restaurants, and bars started reopening, people felt a false sense of being “over” COVID-19 and started backing off on the safety measures we had pushed for so long,” Clevenger said.
From the time Texas reopened to now, there were large riots and protests across the nation. While there was not a protest or riot in Calhoun County, Calhoun County Judge Richard Meyer stated that he believes the spike in numbers is due to a lack of common sense, along with the riots and protests.
“The point was made that persons being tested could not be asked if they participated in a protest or riot,” Meyer said.
Currently, at Memorial Medical Center, the hospital is at full capacity. The isolated six-bed COVID-19 unit is at full capacity with six patients.
“We have surge plans in place to move some things around and open another 10-bed isolation unit if need be,” Clevenger said.
One of the problems health officials are running into is the time it is taking the state to report case numbers. The testing is taking anywhere from three to 10 days to receive results from the labs.
“Some of the positive results that we received today were from people who were tested eight days ago. The labs are trying to secure more staff and are working around the clock to decrease the time it takes to get results, but as it stands, we are still expecting to wait an extended amount of time for patients to get their results,” Clevenger said.
MMC has been working on getting rapid testing in Calhoun County without success.
“When this happens, this will be a major benefit for our patients, medical community, and employers,” Clevenger stated.
MMC is still running into a serious delay with the amount of time it takes for results to get reported. A delay and problem that could have been avoided with a county health department.
“One major drawback in this county is the fact that we do not have a health department. We (MMC and Port Lavaca Clinic) are trying to be there for our COVID positive patients in a way that a health department would normally be, but there are some things that just can’t be replaced,” Clevenger said. “In a town with a health department, a person testing positive for COVID-19 would expect to hear from their health department within 24 hours. In a town without a health department, we are being told to tell our patients that they will hear from someone from the health department in about 7 days.”
As of Monday night Calhoun County had 79 total (which include probable, pending, confirmed) cases, 56 confirmed, 53 recovered, 23 active (which include the pending numbers), 17 pending, six probable, and three deaths.