Hopkins County Judge Robert Newsom this afternoon reported one new positive case of COVID-19 in Hopkins County, for a total of nine positive cases since the Hopkins County Emergency Management Team began tracking coronavirus in Hopkins County in March.
The individual whose test result was reported to be positive May 19 is in isolation. No additional information about the case was released by officials.
The new positive test result was not from among the 107 individuals who were screened during the free mobile test collection last Friday at Hopkins County Regional Civic Center. The results of the May 13 screenings are still pending. Results from the last April 30 mobile test collection at the Civic Center, on average, came back in 3-4 days, according to Hopkins County Fire Chief/Emergency Management Coordinator Andy Endsley.
While the county did have one additional positive test, Newsom said there was some good news too. One of the two people reported May 1 to have COVID-19 has recovered. That means Hopkins County still has only four active COVID-19 cases.
Because the county’s active cases remains below the five, Hopkins County businesses and organizations authorized to open on or before May 18 may continue to operate at 50 percent capacity, according to the county judge.
“We are very blessed in Hopkins County that the numbers remain low,” Endsley said, but emphasized the importance for those in Hopkins County to continue following social distancing guidelines where possible.
As businesses and other offices and programs begin reopening, social distancing, hand-washing and other recommended health practices are especially important to help keep the number of cases in Hopkins County low by reducing potential spread of coronavirus, the emergency management coordinator said.
Sulphur Springs Fire Chief David James reported that infectious disease control inspections at all four nursing homes in Hopkins County began Saturday will be completed by the end of the day May 19.
SSFD’s two assistant fire marshals were designated as the only personnel to conduct the nursing home inspections, to meet state requirements. Limiting entry to only two personnel helps reduce potential for cross contamination and safety precaution for the nursing home residents as well as SSFD employees. The fire marshals also between inspections completed a decontamination process as an added safety measure, according to the SSFD chief.
As for the inspections, James said the nursing homes are “doing real good.” The assistant fire marshals will have some recommendations, but will be available to help the nursing home staff through the process. The fire officials too are making sure that the nursing homes have the personal protective equipment needed to properly ensure the safety of residents and staff.
James said while other agencies across the state are reporting shortages of PPE, the fire department “is sitting good” as far as supplies of PPE. When SSFD sends in a request, it has been filled quickly. While SSFD’s stock of PPE may not be as high as some would like, they have not fallen short.
He said the testing of nursing home residents, also required by the state, is being coordinated by Hopkins County EMS Director Brent Smith, in conjunction with the Emergency Medical Task Force and National Guard.
That process, James said, is starting to get under way. He said while the Governor Greg Abbott ordered all nursing home staff and residents in Texas to be tested, residents may refuse the testing. However, that individual will have to go into a 14-day isolation period.