WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - A record setting week for Wichita County. Two more deaths and 97 new coronavirus cases were reported on Friday. 560 cases in total were reported this week.
“The state of COVID-19 in Wichita County right now is very concerning,” Amy Fagan, assistant director of the Wichita Falls-Wichita County Health District said.
A staggering 39% positivity rate is also reported, nearly doubling last weeks.
“This positivity rate gives us an indication that we are seeing a dramatic increase in cases here and of those tested,” Fagan said.
Hospitalizations are up too. United Regional has 49 confirmed positive COVID patients. The medical center’s COVID unit have been expanded from 40 beds to 60.
“Due to COVID, affected staff the hospital has reduced its capacity from 280 people to 230, with 20% of that current number being COVID patients,” Wichita County Judge Woody Gossom said in a media conference Friday, where he has decided to no reopen bars.
The growing number of cases taking its toll on contact tracers, who are assigned to each person who tests positive.
“Today alone we just moved to a model where instead of calling everybody every single day to do a symptom checker, we are telling the people it’s your responsibility to call us,” Fagan said.
Fagan adds its not uncommon for case managers to have between 50 and 100 cases each.
“At this time we haven’t changed our clearance protocol but its something that we may have to consider as time goes forward, kind of what else we can do to modify to be able to handle the volume load that we have” Fagan said.
Wichita Falls Mayor Stephen Santellana says the spike in cases and hospitalizations are concerning but the power to take action are out of his hands.
“Most I can do right now is public service announcements asking citizens to still make sure they are trying to follow CDC guidelines but other than that we are pretty much powerless at council,” Santellana said. “The governors orders basically say that we can’t lessen or restrict his orders at the municipal level so if Governor Abbott puts out a set of orders those are the rules that the state has to follow.”
While we don’t know what next week will hold, the safety guidelines that have been repeated endlessly since march still the best way to protect against the coronavirus.
“From a public health standpoint face covering work, they are not 100%, but if it lowers or reduces the risk, if it keeps your family safe, than we advocate for it and I see it in the data I see it in the numbers,” Fagan said.