Parker County officials are continuing to urge the public to practice safety and be cautious while the economy reopens amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We need people to be aware, we need people to social distance and we need people to wear masks so those numbers don’t go up. Moving from five [active cases] to 30, there’s an opportunity that we can regress in our movement to open things up and we really want to prevent that if we can,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Larry Walden said. “Just because things are returning to normal, our case numbers are increasing, so we really need to be cautious and we need to be aware. I’m hearing that it’s younger people that are testing positive now — more so than some of the older population.”
Parker County Emergency Management Coordinator Sean Hughes, speaking at commissioners court Monday, said yes, they are seeing positive COVID-19 cases with younger people now but there isn’t a pattern being recognized.
“Based on the data that we do have, we are seeing teens, 20s and 30s. We have had a few that are in their 70s, but there is no definitive pattern,” Hughes said.
Parker County Judge Pat Deen added, “Under the age of 18 we only have about two to four, so that’s a very low number. Our focus continues to be on those most vulnerable.”
Hughes said they are still closely monitoring nursing homes and assisted living facilities and that there have been a handful of cases.
“We are still continuing to monitor our nursing homes and long term care facilities very, very closely,” Hughes said. “What we’re seeing is those infections are coming from staff members coming in [the facilities]. For actual licensed nursing homes we have 13 [positive cases] — staff and a few residents.”
Deen said the state is monitoring rural counties to see how the numbers are increasing.
“The state is looking very closely, especially in rural counties, at these numbers. It is critical that we maintain a low number because the governor’s office is looking at this and has said if we do have an outbreak he could take us back, start scaling this back, from our current 75% occupancy,” Deen said. “To the community I would say that we practice good decision making, continue to take precautions where necessary and continue to take this seriously at this point in time.”
Deen mentioned that social distancing was “obviously difficult” to adhere to during Monday’s meeting due to the importance of discussions pertaining to the Confederate soldier monument.
As for hospital capacity, Hughes said there are no patients currently at Medical City Weatherford, but one resident has been hospitalized at a different Medical City location.
“We have had a couple that have gone through the hospitals that have been moved out. We do have one that is still in the hospital and has been for a number of days, but is getting better,” Hughes said. “We can’t get two negative tests in a row from that individual. They are better and asymptomatic. There are none in Medical City Weatherford at this time.”
The Texas Department of State Health Services will be conducting two drive-thru COVID-19 testing days from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday at Heritage Park in Weatherford.
“I think one of the reasons why we perhaps had an increase in numbers was the tremendous amount of testing that we had done,” Walden said. “We were down to five [active] cases about two weeks ago and we’ve moved from that to about 30. I hope we can bring that number back down.”
As of June 19, Parker County had 32 active cases, 91 total recovered cases and one death.