Matagorda County new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have been trending upwards since the start of Easter break.
Aaron Fox, chief business development officer and public information officer for the Matagorda County Hospital District, said the final numbers won’t be available until April 23.
“Both the number of new cases and the number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 complications are trending up since the start of Spring Break. We expect to have a pretty good idea of the impact Spring Break and Easter had on our numbers by the 23 of April,” Fox said.
As of April 11, the state has reported around 2.4 million confirmed cases in 254 counties and 395,730 probable cases in 224 counties since the pandemic began. Confirmed cases are detect-ed through more accurate molecular tests, while probable cases are detected through rapid-result antigen tests.
These totals may differ from what county and city health departments report.
Fox said it is unclear whether any of the new cases being seen in the county are of the new variant that is starting to plague different areas of the country.
“We have not received any specific feedback on those samples sent from Matagorda County. How-ever, we do know there are hundreds of variant B.1.1.7 cases in our general area, including immedi-ately adjacent counties. Confirmation would be mostly academic at this time, and all Matagorda County residents should assume that COVID-19 variants are circulating in our community,” Fox said.
According to state health officials, Texas is seeing an increases in the severe acute respiratory syndrome COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 increasing in the Houston area. The B.1.1.7 variants has in-creased with cases doubling in the area during the last 6.9 days.
The state currently has the third global highest coronavirus cases by state with over 2.78 million. They also have the third-highest total coronavirus deaths in the United States, reporting over 48,000.
What remains as the strongest component to fight the battle against COVID-19 are the number of vaccines that are readily available throughout the county.
According to Matagorda County Public Information Officer Mitch Thames, the county has seen a record number of vaccines given out in the last few weeks from different organizations.
“We have seen MEHOP take care of most if not all of the teachers that wanted to have the vac-cine. Several industry partners have administered the Vaccine to their employees, their family and any essential worker that we could find, the total number of vaccines were over 500,” Thames said.
“We had last week’s drive through event with the Texas National guard, that count was 1620. We had the MRMC give even more, the last two days, that number was 1100. The Palacios Medical Group had a large vaccine event in Palacios,” Thames said.
Thames reported that for participants in the first dose of Pfizer vaccines back on March 18 and 19, were able to receive the second dose April 8-9.
Recently, MRMC held a vaccination hub event where many received the vaccination to combat COVID-19 but still not as well attended as hospital officials had hoped would attend the event.
“The event went smoothly, but ultimately was not well-attended. We even had to transfer over 300 doses to another county. It appears that supply has met demand at least for the moment, so unless something major changes, I would expect local pharmacies and physician offices to lead most of the vaccination effort going forward. There may be another large event in the coming weeks, but from here on out, we’re projecting far fewer mass vaccination events,” Fox said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials. The vaccines met FDA’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization (EUA).
Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines, and these vaccines will undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. This monitoring includes using both established and new safety monitoring systems to make sure that COVID-19 vaccines are safe.
“We have had the second dose administered by MRMC, DSHS. This doesn’t even touch the national chains; I have heard each group received vaccines. Next up as I understand the plan all pharmacies will be given an allotment,” Thames said.
“I believed we were in a vaccination drought three weeks ago, but I know we have caught up with the surrounding counties,” Thames said.
The CDC said the COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC recommendations on wearing masks and social distancing are the best ways to protect against COVID-19 illness. CDC recommends you get vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as you are eligible.
CDC, FDA, and other federal partners will continue to monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines as they continue to become more broadly used in the population.
Thames said he would strongly encourage county residents if they have the opportunity to get the COVID-19 vaccine, they should do it.
“Our message hasn’t changed concerning the vaccine, sign up everywhere and respond to the first group that calls you for a shot. That has been the message since day one of the vaccine,” Thames said.
Fox said the hospital district has long recommended residents gain the vaccine when offered it.
“The hospital district has always recommended and still recommends becoming vaccinated at the first possible opportunity,” Fox said.
Still, there are reports across the nation where some gain the vaccine but still contract the virus but not a severe cases proving the vaccine is working.
We have not seen any cases like this. There have been instances of people becoming ill with COVID-19 between their first and second shot or before two weeks have passed after their last shot, but we have no reports of a fully vaccinated person two weeks after their second shot becoming ill with COVID-19,” Fox said.