Numbers vary, but county COVID-19 cases stabilize

Staff Reports
Posted 7/28/20

According to data received from the Texas Department of State Health Services by Madison County officials on Monday, there are currently 153 active cases of COVID-19 in the county, a rise of 10 from the week before. The agency reported a total of 181 confirmed cases of the novel coronoavirus in the county up to Monday. There are still no COVID-19 related deaths reported for the county.

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Numbers vary, but county COVID-19 cases stabilize

Posted

According to data received from the Texas Department of State Health Services by Madison County officials on Monday, there are currently 153 active cases of COVID-19 in the county, a rise of 10 from the week before. The agency reported a total of 181 confirmed cases of the novel coronoavirus in the county up to Monday. There are still no COVID-19 related deaths reported for the county.

According to Madison County Emergency Management Coordinator Shelly Butts, the number of cases reflects 1.27% of the county’s total population.

The numbers look different on the DSHS online dashboard, which claims a 609 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Madison County, though only 143 of those active, just one more than a week earlier. Earlier discrepancies in the numbers reported to the county and those included on the dashboard, though, have stemmed from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice counting cases among prisons differently than the DSHS.

"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," Lyndsey Rosales, a communications specialist for DSHS said earlier this month. "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’s online dashboard of cases shows the Ferguson Unit near Midway with 379 active cases among prisoners and 101 active cases among employees.

DSHS now reports 146,835 active cases of COVID-19 across the state, which has led to some changes in state education policy and in this year’s election.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday waived grade promotion requirement for fifth- and eighth-grade students related to the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, test.

In a press release, the governor’s office noted that typically, school systems must take into account a student’s score on the STAAR test to determine whether the student can be promoted to the next grade level. The traditional A-F rating system will remain in place, albeit with certain adjustments due to COVID-19.

There are normally two rounds of testing if a student doesn’t meet the requirement, but this year will only have one administration, set in May to coincide with third-through-eighth grade STAAR testing.

"As always, our goal is to provide a high quality education for every Texas student," Abbott said in the release. "This will be a uniquely challenging school year, therefore, this year is about providing students every opportunity to overcome the disruptions caused by COVID-19. By waiving these promotion requirements, we are providing greater flexibility for students and teachers, while at the same time ensuring that Texas students continue to receive a great education — which we will continue to measure with high quality assessments."

The governor also Monday extended the early voting window for Early voting for the Nov. 3 election. Voting will now begin Oct. 13 instead of Oct. 19. The end date remains Oct. 30.

According to a story in the Texas Tribune, Texas’ formal tally of COVID-19 fatalities grew by more than 600 on Monday after state health officials changed their method of reporting. The revised count indicates that more than 12% of the state’s death tally was unreported by state health officials before Monday.

The DSHS is now counting deaths marked on death certificates as caused by COVID-19. Previously, the state relied on local and regional public health departments to verify and report deaths.

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