COVID-19 graphic

Two more cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Wharton County on Tuesday, bringing the county’s total to three residents with the novel coronavirus.

An El Campo woman in her 30s tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday at the El Campo Memorial Hospital. She had recently traveled outside the state to an area with a high concentration of positive cases, according to hospital officials.

The two new cases are “not all related” to the first case, according to a news release from the Wharton County Office of Emergency Management.

As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, no additional information about the new cases was available, said Andy Kirkland, the county’s part-time emergency management coordinator.

“We’re trying to talk to the hospitals here and get more information, but I just don’t have anything else right now,” he said. “Some places are better and faster about getting information because they have a local health authority and we don’t.”

Wharton is among the rural counties in the region without a public health department. The county falls under the authority of the Texas Department of State Health Services Region 5-6.

Information released about specific cases of the coronavirus has varied from county-to-county at the discretion of state and local authorities and in accordance with federal privacy laws.

Joise Munoz, a 60-year-old Wharton resident, was among the community members wanting to know more information about the patients, including which part of the county they live in or whether their cases are thought to be the result of community spread has not been released.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, community spread means people have been infected with the virus, but how or where they became infected cannot be traced.

“We’ve got two more in Wharton County, but where? It doesn’t say,” she said. “Shouldn’t the public have the right to know to protect our families and our children?”

Munoz has been self-isolating in her apartment with her 26-year-old son for about 10 days, she said.

She ventures out to get groceries as little as possible, but her son stays inside because he has down syndrome and chronic immune deficiency, putting him at high risk for serious illness from COVID-19, she said.

“Living in an apartment complex like we do, you’ve got door-to-door, up and down and across from you,” she said. “Say, for instance, one of these people that has it lives in the complex we’re in. Shouldn’t we know that?

“I just don’t feel safe.”

Kali Venable is an investigative and environmental reporter for the Victoria Advocate. She can be reached at 361-580-6558 or at kvenable@vicad.com.

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Investigative & Environmental Reporter

"I am a Houston native and 5th generation Texan, with a degree in journalism and minor in creative writing from the University of Texas at Austin. I care deeply about public interests and the community I serve.”

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