County down to 16 active COVID-19 cases, says state agency

Staff Reports
Posted 9/8/20

The Texas Department of State Health Services reported 16 active cases of COVID-19 in Madison County Monday, down from 154 active cases a week earlier.

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County down to 16 active COVID-19 cases, says state agency

Posted

The Texas Department of State Health Services reported 16 active cases of COVID-19 in Madison County Monday, down from 154 active cases a week earlier.

The number of daily new reported cases of the virus has been steadily dropping statewide since mid-August, according to DSHS, with 2,057 new cases reported Monday, compared with more than 10,000 daily new cases being reported many days in July.

The virus has caused 13,492 fatalities in Texas, and the DSHS still reports five fatalities in Madison County, not all of which have been officially confirmed.

The DSHS reports updated figures to an online dashboard each afternoon, but In order to publish data quickly, the agency has to bypass what is normally a months-long process of reviewing COVID-19 data and performing quality checks before publishing. So daily information is provisional and subject to change.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice operates its own online dashboard and reports no active cases of COVID-19 among prisoners at the Ferguson Unit as of Monday, making the unit one of the 11 prisons in the state with no active cases among offenders. TDCJ reports 27 active cases among employees of the Ferguson Unit.

Cases of the virus are rising, though, on college campuses as students return to school and hold house parties and Greek rush events, according to a story in the Texas Tribune. But the schools, according to the report, are lagging on any punitive measures.

“We have already begun formal action with both individuals and organizations,” Kristen Harrell, associate director for student life and student affairs at Texas A&M University, told the Tribune Friday. “We will continue to take action on reports where we can specifically identify students or organizations.”

Schools, desperate to keep their doors open but worried about health risks to their students, are being put in the uncomfortable position of having to govern young adult behavior that is mostly happening off university property.

Baylor University is taking a comparatively hard line against students who violate the codes — promising fines, suspending Greek houses and a handful of students after parties, and increasing university police patrols in off-campus areas heavily populated by students.

At Texas A&M University, officials are urging members of the community to report student activity off campus that violates local, state and university health protocols such gatherings of more than 10 people and students not wearing masks.

But while reports of those crackdowns are beginning to increase, most Texas universities aren’t penalizing individual students for partying that takes place off-site.

Instead, those schools are relying heavily on cities, property managers, national organizations and the students themselves to combat risky off-campus behavior that threatens to increase community spread of the coronavirus.

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