Press Release – October 9th, 2020
From: Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman, Mayor Shannon Thomason, and Howard County Emergency Management
Re: COVID-19 Update for the Week of October 5 , 2020
In the last three weeks, we have seen an increase in COVID-19 cases in Howard County and Big Spring. A significant number of these cases were identified using the antigen test. Guidelines for Texas, and the United States as a whole, require the reporting of “confirmed cases,” which are defined as COVID-19 cases found using a PCR test. To date, Howard County and Big Spring Emergency Management have been reporting COVID-19 cases to our citizens in the same manner i.e. positive cases confirmed by PCR testing.
COVID-19 and the virus that causes it are detected by both antigen and PCR testing. The risk of contracting COVID-19 and becoming ill are the same, regardless of which lab test is used for diagnosis. Out of an abundance of caution, local officials are of the opinion that whether a COVID-19 case is “confirmed” or “probable”, the patient is considered positive for COVID-19 until proven otherwise. For this reason, local officials have always weighed results from both types of COVID-19 testing when determining our public health response. To increase transparency and provide a better understanding of why we implement public health interventions, we will begin reporting both PCR and antigen testing numbers in the weekly update.
To date, Howard County and Big Spring have had a total of 1,501 positive COVID-19 cases. We currently have 212 active cases. Of those, 57 are inmates at the FCI and GEO prisons. We have had 1,223 patients recover from COVID-19. There are 50 positive cases pending follow up investigation by DSHS.
Unfortunately, we had one COVID-19 related fatality this week, a 49-year-old female. This is the 16th COVID- 19 related death in our community. County and City officials are saddened by this news and we extend our deepest condolences to her family members. We ask that you keep her family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
Big Spring and Howard County’s COVID-19 statistics continue to improve; however, County and City officials still 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.
Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman
Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason