COVID-19 cases bloom in June for county, state

Staff Reports
Posted 6/30/20

Madison County officials Monday received confirmation of the 26th case of COVID-19 in the county, a rise of 18 during June.

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COVID-19 cases bloom in June for county, state


Madison County officials Monday received confirmation of the 26th case of COVID-19 in the county, a rise of 18 during June.

Case totals and positivity rates (ratio of positive COVID-19 tests to all tests) have risen dramatically in the past few weeks as Texas tried to reopen after isolation orders kept many businesses and other organizations closed.

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, as of Monday evening, there were 153,011 reported cases of the virus across the state, with 69,273 of those cases listed as “active.” The DSHS had reported 64,880 confirmed cases on June 1.

Testing numbers also rose in the month – from 28,600 average daily tests to 41,600 Monday -- but the positivity rate from those has risen from 5.4% on June 1 to 13.74% on Monday.

According to Madison County officials, officials confirmed two additional cases on Monday, a man in his 40s and a woman in her 20s both in the 77872 ZIP code that bring the county’s total cases to 26, with 14 active.

Reports sent to county officials don’t gibe with the Texas Department of Health Services online “dashboard,” which reports 29 confirmed cases in the county, two of which are listed as active.

According to the DSHS, that's because the TDCJ counts cases a little differently.

"There is and will be a fluctuation in the county’s data and ours because of the way TDCJ accounts for their COVID-19 prisoners," said Lyndsey Rosales, a communications specialist for DSHS. "TDCJ’s cases move when a prisoner does, whereas DSHS does not move cases. For example, if an inmate is transferred to another prison in a different county or if that prisoner is released, TDCJ moves that case to the county where the person goes. DSHS keeps the case in the county in which the prisoner was located at the time of diagnosis."

TDCJ reports five cases, all recovered, among prisoners in the Ferguson Unit near Midway. It also reports four employee cases, two active.

According to Madison County Emergency Management Coordinator Shelly Butts, 305 people were tested for COVID-19 Monday at the Lake Madison Lake House.

The state will also offering testing today at the Normangee Civic Center and Hearne High School, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Walk-up testing will be offered at the Caldwell Middle School gym Thursday and Friday.

On Tuesday and July 8, drive-thru test collections will be available at the Brazos County Expo Center. Participants will need to register online; the registration link will be available 24 hours before each testing date.

According to Butts, the state is expected to begin to use cheek swabs at test collection sites.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed an executive order June 3 to begin the third phase of the reopening of Texas, but has since had to pull back as the virus made a dramatic comeback. On Friday, bars were again ordered closed, as well as rafting and tubing businesses. Gatherings of more than 100 people require local authorization.

According to a story in the Texas Tribune, local elected officials in some of the state’s most populous counties are now asking Abbott to roll back business reopenings and allow them to reinstate stay-at-home orders for their communities in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

Officials in Harris, Bexar, Dallas and Travis counties have either called on or reached out to the governor in recent days, expressing a desire to implement local restrictions for their regions and, in some cases, stressing concerns about hospital capacity.

Local governments across the state implemented stay-at-home orders, which generally direct businesses deemed nonessential to shut down, to varying degrees in March before the governor issued a statewide directive at the beginning of April. Abbott’s stay-at-home order expired at the end of April, when he began announcing phased reopenings in the state and forcing local governments to follow his lead. Since then, a number of local officials, many of whom have been critical of Abbott’s reopening timeline, have argued that the jurisdiction to reinstate such directives is no longer in their hands.