City of Big Spring and Howard County officials were notified of 119 new positive COVID-19 test results for the week of September 7th, 2020. As of Friday, Howard County and Big Spring have had a total of 403 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases. There are 128 active cases, and there have been 249 people who have recovered from COVID-19. Also last week, it was announced that there had been two more COVID-19 related deaths bringing the total fatality count for Howard County to 12. The most recent deaths were noted as being a 66-year-old male and a 59-year-old male, both of which were being treated outside of Howard County.
The dramatic increase in positive cases is attributed to an outbreak at the Federal Correctional Institution. Of the 119 new confirmed positive cases this week in Howard County, 105 are inmates at FCI Big Spring. Of the 128 active cases, 23 are Howard County residents; 105 are inmates at the FCI prison. Emergency Management expects additional positive cases from FCI to be reported in the coming days.
Unfortunately, the increase in the number of active cases has affected Howard County’s attestation of not having more than three confirmed positive active cases per 1000 residents. At this time restaurants, retail stores, movie theaters, museums and libraries must limit their capacity to 50%.
Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason told KBest News that it was unfortunate that the cases from FCI Big Spring have impacted the county’s allowed occupancy, but he reminded that the number is determined by the Texas Department of State Health and Services, which is the local health authority.
"When we're dealing with a state agency setting these terms for us, unfortunately, sometimes we're kinda stuck. We're all hoping that the Governor will come out with some expanded operating procedures here in the very near future," said Thomason. "That's something else we need to look at is if those numbers come back down to below attestation, that's a question in my mind is to whether or not we can go back up to 75 percent at that point or not."
"I'm not happy about it," continued Thomason, "and I understand that the business owners aren't gonna be happy about it, but, unfortunately, that's the way this was set by the Executive Order from the Governor and those are the numbers we've been given."
County and City officials continue to urge community members to take every precaution to protect yourself and your family members. Please continue to practice social distancing, stay home when possible, wash your hands frequently, and wear a mask while in public areas. These are all things you can do to help prevent yourself and your loved ones from becoming ill from any respiratory illness including COVID-19.