La Salle remains among counties with fewest reported infections
Frio County’s total confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 122 this week, far outnumbering its neighbors.
La Salle County reported three confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Monday, two of the victims detainees at the regional detention facility in Encinal and the third a staff member at the Las Palmas Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Cotulla.
The county sheriff’s office reported the two detainee cases on Tuesday, June 23, adding that testing, quarantine and additional safety precautions were in place at the detention center.
The number places La Salle County among the lowest in the state for reported cases at the start of the week, at the same time as the state of Texas was ranked fifth in the nation for the largest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases.
As of the start of the week, the US Centers for Disease Control were showing Texas as having reported 111,601 coronavirus cases. A week previously, Texas had reported 89,108 cases. The new tally indicates that over 22,400 people were confirmed as having the coronavirus in Texas over a seven-day period, which represents the
steepest increase in numbers for the state since January.
On Saturday, June 20, Texas reported its highest number of new COVID-19 cases for a single day so far, listing 4,430 victims to the CDC.
States with the highest tallies of confirmed cases by Monday, according to the CDC, included New York with 214,247, California with 173,824, New Jersey with 169,142, and Illinois with 137,762. Additionally and tallied separately, New York City had reported 175,490.
Nationwide, as of Monday, the United States listed 2,275,645 cases with 119,923 deaths from the coronavirus, according to the CDC.
By comparison, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the nation since January is double the number of US armed services personnel killed or wounded in four years during World War II. The number of deaths from the virus in the US since January is more than double the number of US service personnel killed in eleven years of the Vietnam war, according to data provided by the US Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Frio County COVID-19 Dashboard reported online Monday, June 22, that numbers of confirmed cases in South Texas have risen, with as many as 122 virus victims in Frio County, 24 in Medina and 25 in Atascosa, but only two in Dimmit County and one in Zavala County. The online data uses the Texas Department of State Health Services as one of its sources for the information, although that agency reported a higher number for Frio County on Sunday, June 21.
Numbers of confirmed cases for Frio County include 47 people detained at the US Customs & Immigration Enforcement facility operated by the GEO company in Pearsall, and 75 among the general public.
In Medina County, local media reported a higher number of confirmed cases in the general public last week at 57, not including those at any detention centers in that county.
According to La Salle County Fire Rescue & EMS Captain Sean Wallace, emergency responders and county authorities are crediting public awareness and caution for the low numbers of confirmed cases in Cotulla, Encinal and outlying areas, although he emphasizes that all county residents should continue exercising vigilance.
“The number one defense against this is soap and water,” the rescue service captain and spokesman said Monday. “We ask that all people continue wearing masks at all times when out in public, regardless of whether a business asks for it.”
Capt. Wallace added that he believes La Salle County residents should continue regarding the coronavirus as a threat and should “stay home and only go out when absolutely necessary.”
“We hope that people will continue to practice social distancing, not to expose themselves to risk outside the home,” Capt. Wallace said. “Wash hands often and always shower and wash clothes immediately after coming home from being out, being in a crowd, or being in another community.”
Wallace added that the Fire Rescue & EMS is confirming that additional precautions are being taken at the nursing home in Cotulla to limit the potential of contagion, including the continued closure of the facility to public visits, enhanced cleaning and sanitizing measures, and additional checkups of all the residents. The staff member who tested positive for the virus is not a Cotulla resident, Capt. Wallace said, and had been commuting to work at the nursing home.
“All people need to be aware that they may have been exposed to the virus somewhere and may be asymptomatic, in other words they don’t feel ill at all but are still capable of spreading it to others,” the captain said. “We stress that anyone who feels they may have been exposed and who feels at all unwell with cold and flu symptoms seek medical attention immediately.”