Local Health Authority says more COVID-19 testing is needed

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For the 6th day in a row, there have been no new positive cases of COVID-19 in San Angelo and Tom Green County

SAN ANGELO, Texas — While San Angelo has seen fewer positive cases of COVID-19 than surrounding cities, experts say they want more people to be tested because we don’t really know how widespread the outbreak is in the Concho Valley.

“There’s complacency. People are thinking it’s gone but there’s so many asymptomatic people in the community,” said Dr. James Vretis.

For the 6th day in a row, there have been no new positive cases of COVID-19 in San Angelo and Tom Green County. Even with the lack of new cases the Local Health Authority, Dr. James Vretis, said fewer people are now getting tested.

“Nobody’s getting tested. They had to close one of the drive-thru sites because no one was getting tested. If no one’s tested we’re not gonna have any positives,” explained Dr. Vretis.

According to Dr. Vretis, undetected cases of COVID-19 in the community can become a problem as San Angelo slowly reopens.

“Those people who are asymptomatic are the most dangerous because they go out in public thinking they don’t have anything. A lot of people get a ‘it’s all about me’ attitude and they’re not afraid of the virus. You may not be afraid of it, but the person next to you at HEB could be the person that’s susceptible and ends up with severe disease,” added Dr. Vretis.

He said he would also like to see more tests given to workers at larger local companies.

“I’d love to see large businesses and employers like Lonestar Beef to screen their people so we have an idea of what we have in our community,” said Dr. Vretis.

Dr. Vretis wants people to continue to be careful and practice Social Distancing.

“I would love to see us open up, but do it safely. If we have a lot of asymptomatic COVID-19 people, we’re going to see a huge hump. The last 2, 3 weeks we’ve all suffered and I’d hate to see this suffering go to waste,” continued Dr. Vretis.

Dr. Vretis said Shannon Medical Center is still waiting for machines that can run COVID-19 results locally.

“Shannon’s got the test kits but we don’t have the machines that run them now. It’s any day now,” added Dr. Vretis.

After the machines arrive, he said we should have a better idea of the actual number of COVID-19 cases locally.

“I don’t think we’ve seen the end of the disease. Hopefully we don’t see a huge peak just a bunch of small little bumps where we can keep it contained,” said Dr. Vretis.



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Current status of COVID-19 testing in San Angelo