Though the recent downward trend of new COVID-19 cases in Victoria County is encouraging, one thing remains clear, said Victoria’s local health authority on Saturday: The coronavirus is prevalent and widespread in the county.
A few months ago, “the community basically shutdown when there were only a few confirmed COVID cases in the county at all,” said Dr. John McNeill.
Now into August, new cases of the respiratory disease are still being announced on a daily basis, some of those being clusters of residents who got infected after they weren’t practicing social distancing or wearing masks, McNeill said.
Though the number of new cases reported each day has been lower than 100 in recent days, that’s not reason enough for residents to let their guard down, McNeill said.
“A few months ago, we were very concerned when there were a few cases a day, and now we’re happy when there’s only 60 or 70,” McNeill said. “That tells you something big right there.”
Twenty new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Victoria County on Saturday.
In all, 3,275 cases of the disease have been diagnosed in the county. Of those, 1,965 patients have recovered and 40 residents have died.
Additionally, as the virus continues to spread throughout the region, McNeill said he’s concerned about the upcoming flu and upper respiratory infection season, which usually hits in the fall with the cooler weather.
With that time of year approaching fast, McNeill said he’s concerned about those numbers being added to the number of COVID-19 cases in the region.
“I think we are doing what we can to limit the spread of the virus, but this virus is very, very hard to manage,” he said. “This virus is very contagious, and makes people a lot sicker than the viral entities that we are used to.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis.
The flu and COVID-19 share many characteristics, but there are some key differences between the two, the CDC states. Common symptoms of both can include a fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath and body aches.
A change in or loss of taste or smell can by a symptom of COVID-19 that is not commonly a symptom of the flu.
It is possible have flu as well as other respiratory illnesses and COVID-19 at the same time, according to the CDC, and both can result in serious illness that leads to hospitalization or death.
In Victoria’s trauma service area, 162 COVID-19 patients were in local hospitals as of 3 p.m. Saturday. There are 18 available ICU beds in the region, according to state data.
“The bottom line right now is, this has not gone away, and people still need to wear masks, socially distance, work from home if possible and stay at home if possible,” McNeill said. “We need to keep our community safe.”
State officials confirmed 19 new cases of COVID-19 in Wharton County on Saturday, as well as 12 new recovered patients.
In total, 636 county residents have been diagnosed with the disease. Of those, an estimated 285 people have recovered.
Seven county residents with COVID-19 have died.
Local officials are reminding the public that testing will be available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m Tuesday and Thursday at the El Campo Civic Center. Those who want to be tested can register by calling 844-778-2455 or visiting dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus.
Ten new cases of COVID-19 and one new death related to the disease were confirmed in Matagorda County on Saturday.
In all, 654 cases of the respiratory disease have been confirmed in the county, according to the Matagorda Regional Medical Center. Of those, 314 patients have recovered and 21 patients have died.
Calhoun, DeWitt, Goliad, Jackson, Lavaca and Refugio counties did not report any new cases of COVID-19 Saturday as of 8 p.m.