Matagorda County has improved its positivity COVID-19 rate slightly since last week. Numbers now indicate that the county is averaging 17.3 new cases each day, which is down from the 18.1 figure of last week.
“We’re now averaging 17.3 per day for January, which is high, but at least we’re heading in the right direction,” said Aaron Fox, Chief Business Development Officer and Public Information Officer for the Matagorda County Hospital District.
These numbers are still far lower than when Matagorda County hit its high water mark during the COVID-19 pandemic. Back in July of last year, Matagorda County reported 482 new cases. So far for January, the county has posted 416 new cases.
“But if the rest of January equals the January average, this will be the new all-time high,” Fox said.
Fox said right now MCRH is operating with nine active COVID patients in the hospital. He said the hospital has averaged 8 to 12 during any time during this month.
The rise in cases can be attributed to both the Christmas and New Year’s holidays as many in the area congregated together for celebrations that probably caused the rise in numbers.
“It’s right on time and as expected when factoring in New Year’s Eve and the standard delay in reporting,” Fox said. “Now we’re looking toward Easter Sunday as the next large gathering event. It doesn’t appear that we’re in another surge though. We expect new cases to level off and slowly trend down until Easter and then start building back again for at least a couple of weeks.”
One issue that has risen during this recent surge is that residents appear to have increased their activity during this surge but Fox said he is not overly concerned over that right now.
“Our daily activities are important for physical, emotional, and economic health, so the idea is to engage in productive daily life in a way that protects your health and the health of others,” Fox said.
Texas continues to receive doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, and is dis-tributing statewide to hospitals, pharmacies, local health departments, freestanding ERs and other clinics.
Front-line healthcare workers and residents at long-term care facilities (called Phase 1A) plus people over 65 or with a chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from COVID 19 (called Phase 1B) are currently eligible to receive the COVID 19 vaccine.
Phase 1B recipients include:
• People 65 years of age and older
• People 16 years of age and older with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19, such as but not limited to:
o Chronic kidney disease
o COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
o Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardio-myopathies
o Solid organ transplantation
o Obesity and severe obesity (body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or higher)
o Sickle cell disease
o Type 2 diabetes mellitus
Fox said he expects Matagorda County to have the COVID vaccine soon but there is not set date yet on the horizon.
“At this time, we don’t know of any public doses being sent to any vaccine provider in Mata-gorda County,” Fox said. “We do however believe our earlier forecast of “February at the earli-est and April at the latest” to still be an accurate timeframe.”
While many are predicting COVID to be the country’s new norm, Fox said he believes this sea-son will too pass with time.
“I think this is less of a new norm and more of a season that will pass if we do the right things for the right people at the right time,” Fox said. “We’re expecting better vaccines and treat-ments to come along and for life to slowly ease back to pre-COVID times. That’s speaking from a health perspective only of course. On the other hand, the loss of life, the major shifts in the way markets procure and sell goods, and the financial ramifications for individuals and the country as a whole could very well be a different story.”