Yesterday, 04/08/2020, at approximately 3:15 PM, the City of Big Spring and Howard County officials were notified of a positive test result for COVID-19. The patient is a 74-year-old female and is currently being treated by Scenic Mountain Medical Center.
During last night’s press conference with local officials, City of Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason advised that the patient contracted the virus as a travel-related case. When asked for more specific information on the location or how the patient contracted the virus, SMMC CEO Emma Krabill advised that the information would not be disclosed in order to protect the identity of the patient. According to SMMC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rahith Saravannan, public health officials will make contact with those who may have been exposed.
In Big Spring as of yesterday evening, there have been 63 completed tests, 4 are outstanding, and 1 is positive.
When asked if Howard County would be seeing an increase in testing sites now that there was a confirmed case in the county, Dr. Saravannan advised that SMMC is following CDC protocol for testing. He advised that there are 3 priorities for testing:
Priority 1 - hospitalization or symptomatic healthcare workers
Priority 2 - symptomatic patients who also have risk factors
Priority 3 - essential infrastructure workers who are also symptomatic
It was also stated that they do not test asymptomatic people.
During the press conference, Krabill stated that SMMC feels good about their testing process and following the algorithm and the decisions they have made on the tests. She advised that when calculating the percentage of people tested in Howard County as a whole, Howard County is at .15 percent. Other neighboring counties are at .16 and .17 percent, indicating that Howard County is in alignment with that.
Going forward, Mayor Thomason advised that they would be focusing on containment and asked the public not to panic because this is something that they have been preparing for. He also encouraged people to continue to practice social distancing, good hygiene, wash your hands, disinfect, and stay home.
When asked if there would be any further restriction on Big Spring or Howard County, Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman stated that would be dependent upon the citizens. She advised that if citizens are staying safe and continuing to practice social distancing, then there would be no need to add to the current disaster order.