By Julye Keeble at the Uvalde Leader-News, September 24, 2020
Dr. Jared Reading added three more deaths on Tuesday to the COVID-19 statistics maintained on the Uvalde Health Authority website, but two of the three deaths are not recent.
The third death was of a 44-year-old Uvalde County woman with multiple co-morbidities who became ill in July and died on Tuesday.
Reading said a large compilation of data came in from state health officials on Monday, and he then sorted through what may have been a backlog of information; two more deaths were then added, bringing the county total to 31.
Karla Radicke, marketing manager for Uvalde Memorial Hospital, said the records Reading was parsing included those Uvaldeans who may not have been residing in the area recently.
“For example several people who have been in nursing homes in San Antonio or elsewhere for long periods of time are having Uvalde listed on their death certificate even though they may not have lived in Uvalde for quite some time,” Radicke said.
Of the two patients whose death information was received from the state, Reading said one died in late July and the other in mid-August.
Active cases of COVID-19 in Uvalde County have fluctuated, standing at 11 on Tuesday after having risen to 17 Sunday from the 14 reported on Sept. 18.
Reading says family gatherings are likely the cause of the small resurgence in active cases.
“The latest small increase in cases appears to be tied to interacting with family members,” Reading said, noting that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines should be followed as a best practice.
“The cause of COVID-19 spreading has not changed. People being in close proximity to each other, with or without a mask for more than a few minutes causes the disease to spread. The CDC recommends quarantine for individuals who have been within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more of an infected individual, regardless of mask use.”
Reading, who is monitoring cases and posting daily on the UHA website at www.uvaldehealthauthority.org, said he hopes to soon recommend that the county petition to remove the legal requirement for face coverings.
“I do plan on advising the county to remove the mask mandate. I am watching how the cases have been changing related to the recent holiday, and start of school before making that recommendation,” Reading said.
- Confirmed cases: 764
- Probable cases: 29
- Active cases: 11
- Recovered cases: 751
- Hospitalized: 2
- Deaths: 31
- Negative tests: 4,813
On July 3, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued orders mandating Texans in counties with more than 20 active cases of COVID-19 wear a face covering in public spaces or face a possible $250 fine.
“Wearing a face covering in public is proven to be one of the most effective ways we have to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Abbott said in July.
County judges in counties with fewer than 20 active cases of coronavirus may ask to be exempted from the order.
“I have always believed that social distancing has been the key to slowing the spread. Mask use, in close proximity to another person, may help, but keeping distance from each other is by far the better protection,” Reading said.
He noted that even if the legal requirement is revoked, some individuals may still use face coverings, as is their right. Businesses may also choose to continue to require customers to cover their mouth and nose to be able to enter or be provided with services.
“I hope we show respect to those businesses and people who continue to use them, as well as respect to those who choose not to use them.”
“When the mandate gets removed I will carry a mask with me. If I see someone with a mask on, I will take that as a warning sign that they may have symptoms, may be high risk, or they may be living with or taking care of someone who is high risk. So I will avoid that person, or I will put a mask on if I need to interact with them,” Reading said.
As of Tuesday, there have been 764 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Uvalde County, up by 1.73 percent from the 751 cases reported on Friday.
In Texas, there have been more than 749,000 known total cases of the virus and 15,322 deaths as of Wednesday. Across the U.S., there have been more than 6.92 million reported cases and 201,000 deaths.
The case count per thousand for the state, based on a population of 29 million, is 25.83 per 1,000; and for Uvalde County, with a population of about 26,741, the number per thousand remains higher at 28.57.
The Uvalde Health Authority website, which Reading maintains, reported 10 of the patients with current active cases of the virus reside in Uvalde, and one resides in Sabinal.
Probable cases, a category used for people exhibiting possible symptoms of COVID-19 but who have declined testing, remained at 29 cases as of Tuesday.
In Uvalde County, there are 751 recovered patients who have ended quarantine, and two patients who are currently hospitalized; 4,813 people have tested negative for the virus.
There have now been 31 reported deaths attributed to effects of the coronavirus in patients who have tested positive.
See the original article: https://www.uvaldeleadernews.com/articles/reading-hopes-to-nix-mask-mandate/