The active COVID-19 caseload count in Bandera County reached one last week and the potential of more cases exist as the testing of the residents and staff at Bandera’s two nursing homes is finalized, county officials said.
After six straight weeks of no increases in the COVID-19 count in the county, Bandera County’s Emergency Management Coordinator Carey Reed said she received confirmation on Friday, June 12, that a resident of one of Bandera’s two nursing homes had tested positive for the deadly virus.
In addition, an employee at one of those facilities also was confirmed as having the virus, but health officials were not certain if he or she was a resident of Bandera County. That case, as a result, has not been officially listed as a Bandera County case.
And beyond those two cases, four more cases, two involving nursing home residents and two involving employees, had tests that were determined to be inconclusive, Reed said, and will have to be retested.
Also, a woman who resides in the county felt like she needed to be tested and was given addresses where she could go to be tested. But Reed was uncertain if a test had been done and what the results of that test was.
So officially, only one new case of the coronavirus has been confirmed in Bandera County as of Monday, June 15, though that number could change once results from the other possible COVID-19 victims are completed.
The new case constitutes the seventh COVID-19 case in Bandera County, though all six of the previous infections have been declared cured and are no longer considered active.
The new case was believed to be a mild infection since the resident had not exhibited symptoms of the virus before testing showed he or she had it. The resident was placed in isolation at the nursing facility for observation rather than being moved to a hospital, officials said.
The nursing home employee who has come down with COVID-19 also had not exhibited symptoms of the virus before testing and was allowed to isolate himself or herself at home, said Reed.
She said the mild nature of the two cases could be seen as good news.
“It could have been a lot worse,” said Reed.
The positive cases stemmed from June 5 testing done of 98 residents at Bandera Nursing & Rehabilitation and Cedar Creek Nursing and Rehabilitation Center combined and 100 employees working at those facilities.
The tests were conducted because Gov. Greg Abbott ordered that all residents and staff at nursing facilities in Texas be examined as a result of how susceptible nursing homes are to viral outbreaks.
No residents at the facilities in Bandera County had exhibited symptoms of the virus, which includes a fever, body aches, a sore throat and a hard time breathing.
Experts know, however, that a certain portion of the population has contracted the virus and could be transmitting it to others even though they show no symptoms of the disease.
Reed and Bandera County Judge Richard Evans continue to encourage residents to maintain safe health habits that have been instituted since the virus began showing up in big numbers in the United States in March.
That includes washing your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, staying at least six feet away from other people and staying home once someone becomes ill, unless a trip is needed for medical care.
Washing your hands often and keeping an appropriate amount of space between yourself and anyone else are the best steps people can take to fight the spread of the disease, said Reed.
“We should be doing it anyway,” she said.
Evans said he expects to see more COVID-19 cases arise in the county because more people are travelling to Bandera County to visit its parks and its retail attractions and the emphasis on social distancing does not seem to be as strong as it was before.
The judge hopes people travelling to Bandera County are not sick, but that could be unreasonable to assume. With more testing going on for the virus, more positive cases are likely to show up, Evans said.
Some officials have expressed concern about a second wave of coronavirus cases arising in Texas since former rules governing commerce and personal movement have been relaxed and people are going back to work and engaging in more activities that before had been considered unwise.
Abbott has ordered more testing for the virus in the state but has yet to pull back any orders that allowed the economy to get started again after months of limited activity.
The case count in Texas, meanwhile, continued climbing this week.
As of Monday, June 15, state officials said that 89,108 COVID-19 cases had been confirmed in Texas, that 28,036 of those cases remained active and that 1,983 fatalities had been tied to the pandemic.
That amounts to a growth of 13,492 cases and 147 deaths in one week.