In the time from our last update, we now have 300 cases of COVID-19 in Wichita County; 217 of which our Health District staff are actively managing.
Just within the last two weeks, there have been 207 new cases. This is a significant amount of new cases in a short period of time.
Comparing the last two weeks to the three months prior gives an indication of how things have changed.
From June 12 to June 26, there were 1,598 tests that resulted in 207 cases (13 percent) and 1,391 negatives (87 percent); four previously diagnosed positive cases were cleared/recovered. The average daily testing during that time was 137.
From March 16 to June 11, there were 6,874 tests that resulted in 93 cases (1.4 percent) and 6,781 negatives (98.6 percent); 77 of the individuals who were diagnosed during this time were cleared/recovered. The average daily testing during that time was 85.
Not only have our case counts changed, but the nature of the spread of COVID-19 has also changed.
We have documented a substantial rise in community-spread cases, which now represents 33 percent of all cases.
A community-spread case is a situation where a case contracted the virus from a source that we are not able to determine. Other categories include contact with a previous case – not in a household (29 percent), close/household contact (22 percent), travel (16 percent) and 3 percent are currently under investigation.
The average age has also decreased to 39.3, with distribution as follows: 0-5 (2 percent), 6-10 (3 percent), 11-19 (7 percent), 20-29 (21 percent), 30-39 (21 percent), 40-49 (14 percent), 50-59 (15 percent), 60-69 (11 percent), 70-79 (5 percent) and 80+ (1 percent).
This drastic increase in positivity rate, the increase in community spread, and decrease in the age of cases in the last two weeks is highly concerning.
As of Saturday, June 27, there are also six COVID-19 cases currently hospitalized. Your Health District continues to work towards our mission of protecting the health of the community we serve, but this is a daunting task given this drastic and rapid rise in cases.
We have committed to performing core public health work – contact tracing, surveillance, case management, disease reporting and coordination of care. We will continue to do this work until this pandemic is over. However, we need the help of those we serve.
It is essential to take the necessary precautions to protect ourselves, our families, and our community. These precautions include: wearing a face covering while out in public or at work, maintaining social distance, frequent hand washing, and staying home and avoiding contact with people while ill.
Feeling ill includes any version of not feeling well such as; a headache, muscle aches, extreme fatigue, elevated temperature, loss of sense of taste or smell, cough and shortness of breath. During the last two weeks, there were many people who worked or attended gatherings while they were not feeling well.
I have worked with over 70 businesses in the last two weeks regarding a variety of COVID-19 situations. The business/organization may have a positive employee, an employee who is a household contact or contact, they may have had a customer who was positive or had symptoms, or they may be trying to develop plans to protect themselves and their staff.
Just like each positive case is different, each business and their circumstances are different. I go through a risk assessment with each business, determine the nature of their exposure, and we develop a plan of action based on that information.
Some businesses have made the determination to close prior to this process and some voluntarily close as a result of the process. Those that are low risk remain open. Risk assessment can involve things such as mandatory face coverings for staff and/or customers, as well as whether an employee worked while ill.
We must continue to be vigilant during these unprecedented times to protect our community. Daily information regarding cases can be found at www.health.wichitafallstx.gov.