Calhoun County officials are hoping to send their critical COVID-19 patients to surrounding hospitals that could handle their medical needs.

County officials answered residents’ questions during a Facebook Live conference Thursday afternoon, and medical officials discussed the possibility of transferring such patients to facilities such as the Post Acute Medical Specialty Hospital of Victoria North.

Victoria officials announced Wednesday that the Post Acute Medical facility will be dedicated to treat patients with COVID-19.

“We do have a very small number of ventilators,” said Dr. Leigh Ann Falcon, of the Port Lavaca Clinic. “We have two permanent ventilators here, but we have the capacity to borrow from EMS. Hopefully, that’s enough for our community.”

Falcon said the clinic is not equipped for critical patients any time of year, let alone during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those patients are sent to bigger hospitals in surrounding cities such as Victoria, Corpus Christi, Houston and Austin.

The concern is what will Calhoun County do if those hospitals reach capacity, which may happen, Falcon said.

The county has 14 confirmed positive cases, but that does not mean those are the only positive patients in the county, said Erin Clevenger, chief nursing officer at Memorial Medical Center.

The most recent positive case was confirmed Thursday afternoon. The patient is currently self isolating at home. The Texas Department of Health Services determined that the case was not from local exposure but was associated with travel outside the county, according to a news release. The patient’s gender and age were not released.

“There might be instances someone goes to a clinic or emergency room with all the signs and symptoms, but if we can’t get that person to meet the (state’s) criteria for testing, then we can’t test them,” Clevenger said. “We will assume they are positive.”

Those patients are assumed positive but are not added to the official county case numbers.

The county does not have its own health department, so the county’s tests are sent to a lab, Clevenger said. The lab requires a patient to meet criteria, which includes: the patient is hospitalized, over 65 years old, has a chronic illness or is a first responder.

The number of tests are unknown in the county, but Memorial Medical Clinic tested more than 110 people and Port Lavaca Clinic tested about 25 people.

“These tests are not 100% accurate,” Clevenger said. “There are always going to be some people who are false negatives.”

A small number of labs are doing that testing within the state and it creates backup of testing, she said.

“As the situation grows and we can do more testing so does the number of people who need to be tested,” Clevenger said.

The Crossroads case count rose to 176 Thursday with new cases confirmed in Calhoun, DeWitt, Goliad, Matagorda and Wharton counties.

Goliad County

A Goliad resident was discovered to be infected with the new coronavirus Thursday, bringing the county’s total cases to four.

Officials are working to complete contact tracing for the person and think the patient caught the virus outside the community, said County Judge Mike Bennett.

The person, whose gender and age was unavailable, is being cared for at a hospital. The person is thought to have caught the virus while traveling in Texas.

The person marks the first city of Goliad resident to be infected with the new coronavirus.

Three county residents were previously reported to be infected and one has recovered.

Goliad County

Goliad County officials reported a fifth resident has been infected with the new coronavirus.

The woman is under isolation at her home, said County Judge Michael Bennett on Friday.

The woman is younger than 40 years, but detailed demographics were unavailable Friday.

DeWitt County

DeWitt County reported a new case of COVID-19 in a Cuero resident. This case brings the number of known cases to eight.

The person is hospitalized in Cuero. State health officials will not confirm the age or gender of the patient. How the patient obtained the virus is unknown to health department officials, according to a news release from the county.

Of the eight cases, two patients are under investigation at Cuero Regional Hospital. Six others are at home and awaiting test results. Other confirmed cases are quarantined at home.

Matagorda County

One new case of COVID-19 has been reported in Matagorda County, officials announced Thursday.

The new case brings the county’s COVID-19 case count to 45. The new patient is a woman between the ages of 60 and 70 who is being isolated at home, according to the Matagorda Regional Medical Center. The case is not believed to be related to travel.

Of the county’s 45 cases, 10 people have recovered and three people have died.

Matagorda County officials said in a press release that they are hearing unconfirmed reports that some patients who have been told they are positive have been seen running errands during the day.

“It is very important that if you have been told that you have tested positive for the COVID-19 that you do not leave your house for any reason,” according to the release.

Wharton County

Six new cases were announced Thursday by the Wharton County Office of Emergency Management.

The new cases bring the number of cases in Wharton County to 24.

Five of the new cases are in the city of Wharton and are related; they live beside each other.

Of those five, one is a man of unknown age and is currently hospitalized out of the county. The others are a woman between the ages of 45 and 55 with no travel history and three women in their 50s.

The sixth case is a man of unknown age who lives in the city of East Bernard.

Texas DSHS also reports that six of the previously reported cases have now recovered, leaving Wharton County with 18 active cases.

Samantha Douty is the education reporter at the Victoria Advocate. She grew up in Corpus Christi and graduated from UT-Arlington with a bachelor's in journalism.

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