30 Confirmed Cases
Local health and government officials continue to battle the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in Calhoun County.
During a weekly live video update presented by The Port Lavaca Wave, Calhoun County Independent School District Superintendent Larry Nichols, Memorial Medical Center’s Chief Nursing Officer Erin Clevenger, Calhoun County Judge Richard Meyer, and Port Lavaca Mayor Jack Whitlow addressed concerns of the community.
CCISD Superintendent Larry Nichols reminded viewers that there are several more weeks of remote learning for students within the district. As far as end-of-the-year programs, he said the CCISD staff is working on an award ceremony, a Facebook live scholarship program, and a survey for graduation preferences that will abide by government guidelines. He also added graduation ceremonies might have to be postponed.
“The football stadium lights will be on from 8 to 9 every night as a tribute to the seniors, lights on for the Class of 2020.”
Nichols said teachers are also working some virtual field trips for the last week of school. He added that it’s more than likely that some type of bridge program will be available during the summer.
Erin Clevenger thanked the community for practicing social distancing and other safety measures by saying that overall, the community has done a good job. She advised, as of Friday, April, 24, there were 24 COVID-19 cases in Calhoun County; six active, 16 recovered, and two deaths.
She said numbers are increasing, but testing is not where they want it to be.
Clevenger said that between MMC and the Port Lavaca Clinic, 190 tests had been performed. The turnaround time is between two to seven days. She added that Twin Fountains was also testing.
“Until we are able to secure testing that we can complete in our own lab, we are going to be at the mercy of the receiving lab and their strict criteria,” Clevenger said. “MMC has a steady supply of swabs but not enough tests. As soon as we secure more tests, we will have the whole package.”
Regarding reopening the County, Clevenger says the numbers will increase depending on testing and local businesses and community compliance to the safety recommendations.
“We would like to keep the numbers at a slow, steady creep,” she said. “I think the county has to open, but as a medical professional, we have to be as prepared as possible. Everyone has the potential to contract this virus. We are constantly making plans to prepare.”
She also added that being prepared does not mean there is an infinite capacity, and they do not want to face an extreme number of cases. She added that they are much more prepared than they were several weeks ago. MMC will resume elective surgeries as soon as possible.
Drive-thru testing site was deemed a success, even though there was a very short amount of time for county officials to prepare for it.
Twenty-four residents met the required criteria and were tested.
County Judge Richard Meyer said the community is participating in social distancing in a very positive way. He reflected that things in the county are going smoothly, and law enforcement is pleased with the outcome. He reminded everyone to use common sense and that the curfew is still in effect and will be addressed Wednesday, April 29, during the Calhoun County Commissioners Court meeting.
When asked about the county opening back up to the public, Meyer said, “Local businesses and restaurants have never been closed. They have been open for call-ins and pickup. All employees will be required to wear masks and gloves. As the governor releases guidelines, that is what Calhoun County will do. Most of the people are wearing masks. There is a lot still not wearing masks. That is your personal preference. We would like to see everybody wearing masks, not only for your protection but to protect others from getting the virus in case you happen to be a carrier of the virus and didn’t know it at the time.”
Meyer said the county has received some funding for EMS and MMC and reflected that some citizens have started receiving stimulus checks. He said that the process is slow as the county is still receiving funds from the government and FEMA from Hurricane Harvey.
Port Lavaca Mayer Jack Whitlow addressed viewers saying the county election is still taking place despite the ongoing pandemic.
“We are in the middle of early voting,” said Whitlow. “There has been a pretty good turnout so far.”
Election judges have taken all sanitary precautions, and curbside voting is also being provided. Election Day is Tuesday, May 2, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Port Lavaca City Hall.
Whitlow thanked the community for keeping the COVID-19 numbers low and reminded them that the stay at home order will remain in place until at least Thursday, April 30.
The next live update will take place at 2:30 p.m. Friday, May 1.