The Record Newspapers - Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

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By Dave Rogers
For the Record 

OC thankful, wary after COVID decrease


Last updated 10/26/2021 at 8:35pm

Sheriff’s Chaplain Mike Eaves opened Tuesday’s Commissioners Court meeting with a prayer thanking God for the easing of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He’s not alone.

Six weeks ago, new outbreaks of the coronavirus were popping up at alarming rates. And especially in school children.

According to reports for Orange County, the number of “new” cases of COVID-19 in patients aged 5 to 18 went from 34 in the week ended Aug. 10 to 291 in the week ended Aug. 31.

Bridge City High School had about 157 students and 20 adult staff members reporting active cases on Sept. 3, a number equaling 4.5% of its 3,500 total students and staff.

Most other school districts in the county averaged close to 5% absent daily for a stretch around Labor Day.

“We have been about 12 days with no cases, so we are doing great,” Stacey Brister, Little Cypress-Mauriceville superintendent, said Monday night.

West Orange-Cove, Bridge City and Orangefield have been reporting only a handful of active cases for weeks.

Orangefield superintendent Shaun McAlpin said his district had only two active cases Monday. Bridge City’s COVID tracker showed one case Tuesday.

“A lot of people are getting vaccinated,” McAlpin said when asked for a reason in the rapid decline in Texas and U.S. cases, a spike that sunk away.

On Sept. 5, Texas was averaging 40,000 new cases per day. By last week, it was down to 4,000 per day.

Orange County has had 5,410 cases confirmed by the state, and 13,645 counting confirmed and probable, Joel Ardoin, Emergency Management Coordinator, said. Last week, the county recorded 32 new cases, 10 confirmed, with three citizens hospitalized and none on ventilators.

Ardoin reported Tuesday that while new cases continue to drop, so too do those taking advantage of the Southeast Texas Infusion Center near Parkdale Mall.

“The Infusion Center has done 5,500 infusions. We’re one of the busiest infusion centers in the state.”

The centers provide recently diagnosed COVID patients with monoclonal antibodies and often can ease the effects of the virus, avoiding hospitalization all together.

The county’s new vaccine clinic is open on Strickland Drive. Call 409-550-2536 for appointments.

“I think there’s an awareness,” Brister said, attempting to explain the quick fall in the number of school students with COVID.

“People are monitoring their children. We’re monitoring ourselves as adults,” she said.

“We’re asking, ‘Do I feel well? Should I not go to work? Should I go to the doctor?’

I think the hand cleanliness is big and we’re programming ourselves to put our hands under that sanitizer and be aware of that.”

Both Brister and McAlpin point out that the sudden spike and almost as sudden recovery mirrored a recent one in Europe.

“The peak that hit in Europe, it lasted so many weeks, then went away. The same thing happened here,” McAlpin said.

The expectation by experts, including the local leaders, is that another sudden peak may occur around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, when large groups gather.

“We’re going to be having large gatherings again. It’s going to get cold,” Brister said. “Will we see this again in February versus the flu? Who knows?”

The LCM schools leader noted that her district is offering both Pfizer and Moderna vaccine booster shots to employees and their spouses Thursday.

“If we can keep the spread at home down, then it’s not going to come into the schools,” Brister said.



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