Orange County Judge confirms he has COVID-19
Last updated 6/30/2020 at 11:31pm
In the middle of the worst spike yet in local coronavirus cases, Orange County Judge John Gothia has tested positive for COVID-19, he told the County Record and Penny Record newspapers Tuesday.
Gothia missed last Tuesday’s every-other-week meeting of Commissioners Court because he was ill, then canceled a meeting with city mayors Friday because he wasn’t feeling well. He missed Tuesday’s specially called Commissioners Court meeting.
“I found out [Monday] night,” said the county’s top elected official. “Now I have seven more days of quarantine.”
The judge said he hadn’t been able to determine how the respiratory illness was passed on to him.
“We haven’t been able to figure out anybody sick that I’ve been around,” he said.
Gothia said Tuesday morning he had a headache, fever, sore throat and body aches.
“It’s the typical flu,” he said. “I’ve got no energy. I can’t do anything.”
Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Orange County basically doubled in June, going from a total of 98 confirmed cases as of May 28 to 191 cases on June 23, the last report released by the Orange County Public Health Department.
The Texas Department of Health and Human Services puts out daily county-by-county lists and it reported 212 confirmed cases in Orange County on June 30.
Active cases in the county had skyrocketed from 12 on May 28 to 79 on June 23.
A new weekly report is expected in a day or two and Joel Ardoin, county emergency management coordinator, said he expected to the numbers to keep trending up in July’s first report.
“I look for the numbers to spike again,” he said. “In my opinion, it’ll be a big spike judging from the number of people wanting to be tested.”
The county had its biggest single-day testing event Sunday, as the walk-in testing at the Bridge City Community Center Sunday saw 267 residents tested in just seven hours.
Another three testing dates have been set for the county in mid-July, Ardoin said, though details are still to be worked out. He said the Texas military mobile unit that conducted the Bridge City testing would be at the Orange Armory on July 12 and other testing dates are July 15-16, at least one of which will be in Vidor.
Both Ardoin and Dr. Calvin Parker, county health director, said the huge increase of 60 new cases reported June 23 was due largely to a nursing home in Vidor that had reported 28 positive cases.
“But out of that, only one case was symptomatic,” Ardoin said, meaning the patient had the symptoms of COVID-19.
The state was supposed to have tested all the county’s nursing homes weeks ago, but somehow didn’t report the numbers from this one.
“The big jump came when all those numbers dumped in at one time,” Parker said.
The good news of all is the fact that of the 79 active cases noted on the June 23 report only 3 citizens were listed as hospitalized. And best of all, only 3 Orange County residents have died of the 200-plus cases recorded.
“I haven’t seen as many sick people as I was early on, even though there are more positives,” Parker said. “It could be because more tests are available and people are more open to testing.”
Ardoin opined: “We’re seeing more positives from the younger group, and COVID’s not affecting them as much. That’s been the trend nationwide.”
Parker was pleased by the relative lack of deaths.
“Orange County has been very fortunate in the death rate,” he said, “although the families of those who died may not feel fortunate. Only three of four dead over six months, that’s pretty amazing.
“I could name a number of diseases that took more lives. We’re doing a number of things right, including wearing masks more. But I think we’re going to be dealing with this [COVID-19] for a while.”