Despite increased testing, only four additional Wharton County residents in the last two weeks have been diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus sweeping the world.
While that seems to be good news, results are pending on 173 COVID test kits, samples collected at the Wharton Civic Center on May 7 and 9.
Those results will likely become available in one large batch, Wharton County Emergency Management Coordinator Andy Kirkland said Friday, adding he’s unsure of when. Testing labs are processing thousands of samples per day.
With 42 confirmed cases, one-tenth of Wharton County’s 41,556 residents now have or are recovered from the virus. No one in the county has died as a result of COVID-19, according to Department of State Health Services records.
“We have had 31 reported cases who have recovered,” Kirkland said Thursday. An additional 11 cases remain active.
While many businesses are now operating at 25 percent capacity with additional loosening of safety restrictions anticipated May 18, the number of COVID-19 cases statewide continues to grow.
“As bad as (Hurricane Harvey) was, we could see an end. With this, it doesn’t have an end,” Kirkland said.
That’s why, he added, safety precautions remain vital. “It’s been 10 days since we let people out. Now, I see many aren’t wearing masks. You say you’re not worried. I want you to be worried about giving it to me (or to a family member),” he said.
The statewide goal is one percent of the population tested, and in Wharton County, that’s been met and exceeded. Testing continues with 587 or 1.4 percent of Wharton County residents checked for the virus as of presstime.
Of concern, statewide hospitalizations related to COVID-19 are on the rise this week, up roughly 100 cases since Monday.
“With the original curve, we were going to overwhelm hospitals. Now, people are getting taken care of with room left (in hospitals for more),” Kirkland said.