High hospitalization rates forces area to take step back

High hospitalization rates forces area to take step back 

Due to high hospitalizations caused by COVID-19, Matagorda County has been mandated by Governor Greg Abbott to roll back its business openings.

In areas with high hospitalizations, any business establishment that otherwise would have a 75 percent occupancy or operating limit may operate at up to only 50 percent.

Bars or similar establishments that hold a permit from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) and are not restaurants may not offer on-premises services.

Matagorda County Judge Nate McDonald has been notified by the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission that Trauma Service Area Q has exceeded the threshold allowed by Texas Governor Abbott.

Per the Executive Order-32, areas with high hospitalizations means any Trauma Service Area that has had seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID‑19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of total hospital capacity exceeds 15 percent, until such time as the Trauma Service Area has seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID‑19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of total hospital capacity is 15 percent or less.

“During the pandemic our local law enforcement personnel have been stretched thin,” said Matagorda County Public Information Officer Mitch Thames. “They are using all available resources to provide the community with law enforcement coverage and have not been directed to enforce or attempt to enforce the measures outlined above. We are asking all businesses impacted by GA-32 to self-monitor and to prioritize community health.”

Aaron Fox, Chief Business Development Officer and Public Information Officer for the Matagorda County Hospital District, said this time of the year the hospital is normally very busy and with the added pressure from COVID-19, it becomes more of a challenge.

“We discharge patients throughout the day, so our census changes by the hour,” Fox said. “Right now, our capacity is as expected during what is historically our busiest time of year. We continue to closely monitor the ICU census, staffing availability, and our ability to transfer patients to larger facilities in the region. Those are three situations that can keep us awake at night, but we’re in good shape at the moment.”

Matagorda County Judge Nate McDonald, Bay City Mayor Robert Nelson, Palacios Mayor Linh Chau and the entire Matagorda County Emergency Operation Center team has been working closely with the Matagorda Regional Medical Center and all medical facilities to ensure that our medical system has not been in any danger.

Thames said the number of COVID-19 cases has continued to rise in the last two months but reports from the medical community show we have the ability to provide high level of care to any persons needing medical services.

For more information concerning the rules and regulations please visit https://gov.texas.gov/uploads/files/press/EO-GA-32_continued_response_to_COVID-19_IMAGE_10-07-2020.pdf , you can also email questions to coronavirus@dshs.texas.gov .

The MC EOC continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation in Matagorda County. Yesterday Department of State Health Services reports Matagorda County had:

Total positive cases 1842

Total number of fatalities 64

Total number of Recovered cases 1833

Total number of Active cases 151

They are tracking 189 people who might have the virus and are waiting on test results.

“These number are alarming, the number of people effected has risen to mid-summer levels,” Thames said. “Consider your loved ones when you venture out in the community. The virus is in every corner of the County. We have increasing cases in the schools, in both city and county government, and in the workforce. The results are straight forward, the better the community follows simple guidelines and the better we protect each other, the lower we keep the active numbers of COVID-19 cases, the quicker we get fully opened and everyone can return to work.

“Just think for a moment, your actions influence the employment of someone else,” Thames said. “That is correct, your actions today will mean the ability for someone that works for a local business to start rebuilding their lives, providing for their family. Think about the amount of lost time due to being sick. The numbers add up quickly and hurt productivity and services, so we all pay a price for our workforce being out of work.”

State and National news and programs have covered the safety guidelines so many ways, almost every night there is a warning on what to expect and what to do to keep yourself safe.

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick, even inside your home. If possible, maintain 6 feet between the person who is sick and other household members.

• Put distance between yourself and other people outside of your home and wear a mask when this is not possible. Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus.

• Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people.

• Use hand sanitizer frequently and cough or sneeze into your elbow.

• Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.

• Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

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