GAINESVILLE – COVID-19 is still very much on the minds of local leaders, despite last week’s reported drop in active cases.
Cooke County Judge Steve Starnes issued a joint statement Friday with officials from North Texas Medical Center (NTMC), Muenster Memorial Hospital (MMH) and the City of Gainesville, reemphasizing their message over the last month that the coronavirus is not at all in the past; in fact, it continues to take a toll on local medical capacity
“Regionally, Trauma Service Area “E” (TSAE) consisting of 19 counties in North Texas is experiencing growth of the pandemic that could outpace the highest numbers that we saw earlier in the year. On Jan. 7, TSAE hit a peak of 4,155 hospitalized patients with COVID-19. As of Aug. 24, we have reached just under 3,300 COVID-19 inpatients in TSAE. That number is up from a low of 247 hospitalized patients on June 19. That represents a staggering 1,236 percent increase over a period of two months and five days,” according to the local statement.
Gainesville Independent School District reported a handful of COVID-19 infections in the first week after students returned to class on Aug. 18; however, those numbers have spiked in recent days. The school district’s COVID-19 dashboard reported Monday that eight staff members and 89 students in quarantine – 29 of those staff and students had active infections.
Other school districts are also contending with the coronavirus. Era show 10 active cases and Valley View reported three active cases on its high school campus late last week. Numbers were not immediately available for the county’s other districts.
Overall, Cooke County had 44 active cases as of Monday, according to state health officials, bringing the COVID-19 totals up to 3,587 confirmed cases, another 701 probable and 75 deaths since the pandemic’s outbreak in the spring of 2020.
NTMC had no COVID-19 inpatients as of June 19, but it had as many as 19 such patients at one time in August. State officials sent eight nurses to help with the increased volume.
Of those patients, well over 90 percent had not been vaccinated. Two of those patients died in the last month at NTMC, after no deaths in June or July.
“NTMC has been working diligently to find hospital capacity in the area to assist with less severe patients so they can maintain capacity for the most critically ill. Cooperation between (NTMC and MMH) hospitals in our county and other (larger) surrounding facilities is vital because getting a patient transferred to a bed in the larger urban hospitals is all but impossible at times,” the release stated.
“We are reliant on these larger hospitals to take patients that need a higher level of care than can be provided in Cooke County. Our EMS is directly impacted when our local hospital capacity is maxed out and patients need to be taken to an out of area hospital.”
The statement goes on to point out that NTMC and MMH are offering outpatient monoclonal antibody infusions to patients with COVID-19 who are at high risk for progressing to hospitalization. These infusions can only be received as a scheduled service through an order from a local physician or authorized medical provider.
For more information, follow federal guidelines at https://www.cdc.gov/