Port Lavaca has issued a “stay safe at home” order similar to what is in place in Victoria County, officials said Friday at a Facebook Live press conference.
The number of cases in the county remained at eight on Friday, but authorities warned of the serious danger facing everyone.
County judge Richard Meyer said the county had problems with some residents who did not self-isolate properly and that law enforcement would intensify enforcement.
Port Lavaca Mayor Jack Whitlow announced the new orders, but said he was proud that most residents were already following Governor Greg Abbott’s orders.
The new home stay order comes into force on Saturday. The mayor said the order doesn’t change much – “just keep doing what you do” by staying at home. The order is not in effect in Calhoun County outside of Port Lavaca.
Dr. Leigh Ann Jedlicka Falcon, an internal medicine doctor at the Memorial Medical Center in Port Lavaca, urged residents not to be complacent because Calhoun’s COVID-19 levels did not increase on Friday.
“In fact, a report was released today that COVID-19 is now the third leading cause of death in the United States,” she said. The death rate in Texas has quadrupled in a week, she said.
She also urged people not to socialize with anyone who isn’t already living in their home, she said. Most patients with COVID-19 will have no symptoms, she said, and they do not know they are transmitting the virus.
Erin Clevenger, head nurse at Memorial Medical Center, said officials were anticipating more cases and taking a short break to prepare.
“Nor have we had any deaths in Calhoun County,” said Clevenger. “For this, we are very grateful. “
In the update, Clevenger noted that the hospital and the county obtain “very limited” information from the state health department if COVID-19 patients are tested in a private medical office.
“I know it has been a source of frustration for our fellow citizens. This has also been the case for our medical centers and our county, ”she said.
The good news is that the Memorial Medical Center has the equipment to run new test kits in production nationwide, she said. However, the Memorial Medical Center is on the waiting list and expects these kits to first go to hot spots elsewhere in the country, she said, so she expects that they are not available in Port Lavaca for at least a few weeks.
The hospital is working to prepare for a surge in more cases, said Clevenger. COVID-19 patients are kept isolated in a hospital ward. When this COVID-19 unit reaches full capacity, the hospital is ready to create more isolated units, she said.
The hospital is also working to acquire more beds, medicine and ventilators in advance of need, said Clevenger.
“As you hear in the media, all of this equipment is wanted by all hospitals,” she said, “so we are trying, like the rest of the nation. “
The hospital called on community members to inform the authorities of any source of personal protective equipment.
Calhoun residents are encouraged to call the hospital clinic at 361-552-0325 before coming to the hospital or to arrange a telemedicine visit.
Larry Nichols, superintendent of the Calhoun school district, said he appreciated the cooperation of the community to make distance learning work. The plan is to continue until May 1. The school district served 4,700 meals this week, he said.
Lavaca County announced its second case of COVID-19 on Friday.
Transmission of the virus is believed to be linked to displacement outside Lavaca County, officials said in a statement. The person resides in the Shiner postal code 77984. The person experiences mild symptoms and isolates himself at home, and there has been no community exposure in the county, the statement said. State health officials would not confirm the patient’s age or gender.
Texas State Department health services were helping Lavaca County identify the patient’s close contacts so that they could be isolated and monitored for symptoms and quickly tested, if necessary.
Lavaca County emergency management coordinator Egon Barthels said he is communicating with other state officials about the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The Texas Department of Emergency Management and the Department of State Health Services are coordinating their efforts and identifying resources that can be mobilized when needed and that local resources may not be sufficient to respond. There are no unmet needs at the moment, the statement said.
Combating the spread of this virus is the duty of everyone in the community, said Lavaca County Judge Keith Mudd. Health experts learn that a person may have COVID-19 and have no symptoms while transmitting the virus.
Mudd asked residents of the county to follow the advice of medical experts. “If you’re feeling bad, stay at home and don’t interact with other people if possible,” said Mudd. “Keep in mind that others can be asymptomatic and expose yourself to the virus. It works both ways. “
A new case of COVID-19 was confirmed Friday in Matagorda county, bringing the total number of cases to 36.
The patient recently confirmed to have COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, is a woman aged 55 to 65, according to the Matagorda Regional Medical Center.
The patient is currently in home isolation. The case is not believed to be related to travel abroad.
Matagorda County issued a home stay order on Thursday. The warrant prevents people from leaving their homes or from gathering in groups of more than 10 people. Individuals face a $ 200 fine or up to 180 days in prison if a law enforcement officer sees a group of more than 10 people, near or outside their home for non-essential reasons.
Officials announced on Friday that one of three COVID-19 patients has fully recovered. Authorities are still monitoring the two remaining coronavirus cases. Jackson County officials urged residents to continue following CDC guidelines for social distancing and routine hand washing.
Officials said Friday that 86 tests had been completed, 17 of which were pending results.
Note: This story was updated on Saturday morning to correct the jurisdiction of the order.