Six hospitalized, 57 active cases in Medina County

As of Monday, Medina County reported having 57 active including a mounting number of new pending cases that in day after day from the State.

Medina County has now had a total of 15 people hospitalized from COVID-19 that local officials know of. Of those, six are currently in the hospital right now, and three have passed away. One of the hospitalized residents who recovered was a healthy woman in her 30’s, who spent over a month in the hospital fighting this horrible disease. As of Monday, the county reported having 57 active cases including a mounting number of new pending cases that come in day after day from the State.

As local Health Unit Director Patricia Mechler explained how important it is for locals who have been affected by COVID to help the county health unit help others.

“We do not get a call from SA area hospitals saying ‘you have a local resident who is hospitalized.’ That doesn’t happen. Even DSHS does not generally have that info. What we receive is a lab test, and we have to try to call that person and find out how they are and ask them about close contacts so we can help notify them. Sometimes we really have to dig to get that information. ”

“We have some bad news this week. We are reporting one new death in a resident of Community Care, and three other residents who are positive,” Mechler said. “We hate to see cases of COVID-19 in our long term care facilities. It is scary.”

Mechler stated that she would be breaking down cases to show the zip code of active cases, as well as a trend in new cases over a two week period.

“You have to know that if you are going out and doing certain things right now, the risk is high,” Mechler stated during the teleconference.

She also explained when and how COVID-19 patients are deemed “recovered.”

“It is generally 10 days past the onset of symptoms, a significant improvement of symptoms, and being fever free for 72 hours,” Mechler said. “At that point the cases are sent to our Region doctor and she makes the decision when to recover.”

The City of SA reports that 12% of staffed hospital beds are available (514 available out of 4,412 total beds in county). Fifty-one percent of ventilators are available 362 out of 716).

Over time, about 11% of the 8,000+ Bexar County residents who contracted COVID needed hospitalization. About 15% needed a ventilator, and 35% needed ICU of the total admitted.

Help called in

According to STRAC, SA hospitals have called in help from hundreds of nurses to help with the surge….250 travel nurses were expected to be in the SA area to help by this past Monday.

“Doubling Time” explained

As of noon Tuesday, July 7, the City of SA records that the number of COVID cases is doubling in 11 days, in the “orange zone” nearing the red. That is the current number of days it is taking for the number of COVID-19 cases to double.

Officials want to see that number higher than 18 days, to be in the green zone. When the doubling time drops to 18 days or lower, a warning is triggered.

In other words, a decrease in the number of days it takes for the total number of COVID-19 cases in our community to double (doubling time) is a key warning indicator.

Be part of the solution

See separate article this week, discussing how families affected by COVID can help prevent spread in our community as officials all over the state are overwhelmed with investigating new cases and notifying those in contact with people fighting COVID.

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Myths on Probable Cases

A video of a meeting of another commissioner’s court in Texas discussing probable case definitions has been shared and discussed for days. Without listening past the first few minutes of the video, there have been many myths circulated. To be a probable case, you must be a close contact AND have a very specific list of symptoms OR you must be a close contact AND have a positive FDA approved antigen or antibody test showing a recent or current infection (which can be determined by the levels in the test).  Why have other testing methods become more and more important?  During the recent surge in cases in Texas, many local people have reported that the traditional swab tests have taken over 10 days to be returned with results. The antigen labs provide a faster way to know if you have COVID and allows you to start notifying your close contacts and begin treatment before it’s too late.

Our local Medina Regional Hospital and Little Alsace Urgent Care are expecting to receive rapid test machines sometime soon. They have been ordered, and it will be a game changer in the speed of notifying people who have been exposed and thus preventing the spread.

However ,these machines too are in high demand, and with some of these machines, only a limited number of test strips will be provided per each machine purchased. County leaders have grant funds for public health measures available, but are unsure if local clinics can get more test strips if more machines were to be purchased for other area clinics.