TEXARKANA, TX—Bowie County Emergency Operations Center reports a total of 117 positive COVID-19 cases, with 78 recoveries and 11 related deaths. Cass County has a total 26 cases with 20 recoveries.
|Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in Bowie County (as of 5/21/20)|
|Total Cases in Bowie County||117|
|Ages (Bowie County Cases)|
|Gender (Bowie County Cases)|
The Emergency Operations Center has been keeping a running total of cases since March 16, 2020. During the past nine weeks, the situation relating to COVID-19 has rapidly evolved and changed from day-to-day. Under the direction of Bowie County Judge Bobby Howell, Texarkana, Texas Mayor Bob Bruggeman and Local Health Authority Dr. Matt Young, the EOC has made decisions about how to count positive cases, what data is available to maintain, and what key indicators to track based on information reported to the operation. This data is collected from local health facilities, private physicians, clinics and healthcare providers in the region, and the identity of patients is strictly protected. Contact tracing is an on-going effort made possible by the Bowie County and Texarkana, Texas Office of Emergency Management and the Texarkana Texas Police Department.
Earlier in the week, the Texas Department of Health and Human Services made a change in the way positive cases were reported on their COVID-19 dashboard for the entire state of Texas. They began adding positive cases at correctional facilities to the county counts.
While Telford Correctional Facility employees who live in Bowie County and test positive for COVID-19 have always been counted in the Bowie County total, it is impossible to count offenders in that total number because the state does not provide a report to the local EOC, and the offender population is frequently moved around from facility to facility within the state without notice depending on their health, security requirements, staffing levels and other factors.
If an offender who is COVID positive is transferred by ambulance out of the facility and to a local hospital, then they are added to our “hospitalized count”, and if an offender succumbs to the virus, they are then added to our fatality count if they died in a local hospital. Otherwise, the total of offenders who are positive for COVID-19 will not be added to the local case count for Bowie County. Texas Department of Criminal Justice offender information related to COVID-19 can be found athttps://www.tdcj.texas.gov/covid-19/offender_mac.html.
In addition, the local EOC has been asked to provide the Texas Department of Health and Human Services with information related to lab-confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in our county so that their COVID –19 dashboard can be updated with verified information from our local efforts. In the beginning of this pandemic, the local EOC was instructed to seek information from private labs and healthcare providers and keep records of positive cases. The Bowie County/Texarkana, Texas Emergency Operations Center built relationships, and kept accurate data on these cases, and has now been asked to provide that information to the state. A large jump in the numbers provided by Texas DSHS can be attributed to an addition of correctional facility offender cases, and a “true-up” by DSHS using local data to update their case totals.
Governor Greg Abbott announced Monday that gyms and exercise facilities, child care facilities, and massage, personal care and beauty services may begin opening immediately. Office buildings and manufacturers may open up at 25% of the total workforce. Youth Clubs may begin to meet again today, with no more than 10 at a time while maintaining a six feet social distance. The Governor also announced that youth sports may begin practicing on May 31, 2020 with one guardian or parent accompanying. The Governor’s protocols for Youth Sports specifies that games or competitions cannot be held until June 15, 2020. Spectators should maintain at least 6 feet social distancing from individuals not within the spectator’s group.
According to the Governor’s plans to reopen Texas, bowling alleys, bingo halls and bars may begin reopening on Friday, May 22, 2020.
More details regarding Governor Abbott’s announcement on reopening can be found athttps://gov.texas.gov/organization/opentexas.