Ongoing Pandemic

Medical professionals at Mid Coast Medical Clinic perform drive-by COVID-19 testing in El Campo. Free testing has been offered periodically throughout the pandemic. As COVID-19 cases rise nationally, state health officials warn people to take precautions.

The number of Wharton County people getting sick from COVID-19 is on the rise again with patient numbers at El Campo Memorial Hospital doubling in the last few weeks.

Active COVID-19 cases county wide have grown from 44 to 85 in the last week, according to the Wharton County Office of Emergency Management. The state reports deaths have risen from 59 to 64 during the same time period. The county office, however, still lists fatalities at 49.

Statewide positive COVID counts are on the rise with a single-day record set Thursday, prompting renewed warning about Thanksgiving observances.

“This year, it will be safer to celebrate in person with the people who live in your household and connect virtually with those who live elsewhere,” according to a statement released by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

In El Campo, the ER has proven to be the front lines for COVID treatment.

“We have had an increase in COVID patients,” ECMH Marketing Director Donna Mikeska said Thursday. “The majority of patients are receiving treatment and are discharged upon improvement. Patients with compromised health issues are at most risk.”

The Mid Coast clinics are providing testing and are seeing a rise in cases as well.

“Most all positive cases are just going home to self-isolate for 14 days with little or no serious symptoms,” Mikeska said.

Local health officials urge residents follow state and OEM guidance. If you gather with people you don’t live with on Thanksgiving:

• Talk ahead of time to set expectations about the precautions.

• Keep gatherings small.

• Wear a mask with multiple layers that completely covers your nose and mouth.

• Maintain six feet of physical distance between people who don’t live together.

• Gather and eat outside, or open windows.

• Have guests bring their own food rather than sharing dishes and utensils.

• Frequently clean and disinfect items and surfaces.

The state also recommends people avoid large gatherings, including crowded stores.

ECMH, Mikeska said, “remains diligent in providing health care to all patients, whether COVID or acute patients in the hospital, emergency department or at any of our clinics.”

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