Hemphill County reached a new milestone this week. The hospital district reported on Wednesday that the number of positive coronavirus tests in this county had reached 100. Of those cases, over a quarter were deemed active cases at midweek, with 74 recovered, 1 still pending, and 774 negatives. No COVIDrelated deaths have been reported.
Since last week’s report, 16 new positive tests have been reported in this county, and 14 have been reported in non-county residents.
Canadian ISD’s coronavirus case count continued to tick slowly upward over the last seven days, accounting for four of those positives. Over the weekend, Superintendent Lynn Pulliam reported two new COVID cases involving staff members. One case at CMS required no close contact quarantines due to the face-covering protocols in effect on that campus. At BES, one close-contact student was quarantined.
On Monday the 16th on-campus positive was reported, involving a student at CMS. Two siblings were also quarantined. And at midweek, the 17th case at CISD was reported in a BES staff member. No close-contact quarantines were involved at school but two family members were quarantined.
Asked whether—in light of the recent spike in coronavirus cases—he was aware of any new measures under consideration locally to protect public health and safety, Hemphill County Judge George Briant said he was not. He did note, however, that he had never filed for an exemption from Governor Abbott’s July executive order requiring all Texans to wear face coverings in public places in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases. Gov. Abbott’s order gave mayors and county judges the ability to opt out of the face-covering requirements—an option Judge Briant has not pursued. With the case count now at 26, the mask order is officially in effect here, Briant acknowledged.
“As I understand,” he said, “it is not enforceable anyway and no one around here plans on enforcing it if it was.”
“There is little that I can do other than encourage people to wear a mask,” he said, “at least when common sense would suggest that it might help. I certainly don’t want the Governor to shut anything down again, and I think most in our part of the state would agree.”
“We have definitely had a spike in cases,” Briant said, “and I am not without concern. It seems that many folks are just not too wor ried about catching the virus. It appears that the illness is not as severe and dreaded as it previously was, so many have just decided to ‘go on with business,’ whatever that is.”
There was some good news this week. In its latest test of staff and residents on Wednesday, the Edward Abraham Nursing Home reported no new positives. Only one case remains active there.