San Angelo has experienced a number of changes since the world’s first outbreak in 2019. From the initial surge and to where we are currently. Here’s a look at how San Angelo has been handling the COVID-19 virus.
In the beginning…
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a new coronavirus was identified as the cause of a disease outbreak that originiated in China. This new coronavirus is similar to SARS-CoV, so it was named SARS-CoV-2. The disease caused by the virus was named COVID-19 (COronVIrusDisease-2019) to show that it was discovered in the later part of 2019.
An outbreak is called an epidemic when there is a sudden increase in cases. As COVID-19 began spreading in Wuhan, China, it became an epidemic. Because the disease then spread across several countries and affected a large number of people, it was classified as a pandemic, according to the CDC website.
COVID-19 in the United States
The CDC confirmed the first case of 2019 Novel Coronavirus in the United States in the state of Washington on January 21, 2020. The CDC adds, the patient recently returned from Wuhan, China on January 15th, where an outbreak of pneumonia caused by this novel coronavirus has been ongoing since December 2019.
While originally thought to be spreading from animal-to-person, the CDC stated at the time there was growing indications that limited person-to-person spread was happening. It’s unclear how easily this virus is spreading between people.
First COVID-19 case in Texas
The Texas Department of State Health Services and Fort Bend County Health and Human Services reported the first positive test result for COVID-19 in Texas, according to the March 4, 2020 news release from the Texas Department of State Health Services.
First COVID-19 case in Tom Green County
The first positive case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the Tom Green County was confirmed on March 24, 2020, according to a statement from the City of San Angelo.
The release adds, the City of San Angelo believed at the time restrictions on 10 or more people were sufficient to protect our public and asked for citizens to continue doing the following to stay healthy:
· Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
· Avoid contact with people who are sick.
· Stay home as much as possible, but especially if you are feeling sick.
· Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue to cover it, then throw the tissue in the trash.
· Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
If you have symptoms of respiratory illness including cough, fever and shortness of breath, please contact your health care provider. It is important to call ahead before arriving at a medical facility to avoid potential spread of germs.
San Angelo’s first COVID-19 related death
According to the April, 9, 2020 release from the City of San Angelo, the Tom Green County Health Department confirmed the first death of a patient with COVID-19 in the area.
San Angelo’s rise in COVID-19 cases
Throughout the next couple of months, positive COVID-19 cases in San Angelo stayed relatively low, with less than five cases reported until April 29th, when six positive cases of COVID-19 were reported.
The next biggest jump in cases in Tom Green County wasn’t until Saturday, May 2nd with 22 new cases. 19 of the positives were from a large employer that tested their entire facility.
The next increase in COVID-19 cases for Tom Green County was on June 27, 2020 where there were 31 new positive cases reported in the Concho Valley.
First 100 positive cases report
In mid-July, just under four months after the first coronavirus case was reported in San Angelo, the Tom Green County Health Department reported over 100 new positive cases in the Concho Valley on July 15, 2020, with 105. The daily positive cases would reach a new high point with 135 positive cases confirmed on July 31, 2020.
San Angelo’s daily positive, death, and hospitalization high points
After 135 positive cases on July 31st, the daily positive cases dropped back down until the next surge that brought Tom Green County’s current record for positive COVID-19 cases for one day on November, 11th with 256 cases confirmed.
Two and half weeks later, the Health Department confirmed eight additional COVID-19-related deaths, the highest one-day total seen throughout the pandemic.
As the daily positive cases continued to rise, hospitalization rates, released by the Tom Green County Health Department, showed similar trends. On December 31, 2020, Tom Green County recorded the highest number of hospitalizations on record with 108 patients.
Where we are now
After reaching record highs, hospitalizations and daily positive cases dropped for awhile, the latter had a surge in mid-January before tapering off for several months.
Fast forward to recent months, daily positives and hospitalizations in Tom Green County are on the rise once again, with positives back up to over 150 and 80 patients hospitalized.
Entering the second half of September, daily positives have dropped down to about 50 new cases a day. Meanwhile, hospitalizations, while lower than previously noted, are hovering around 70.