Monday, April 06, 2020

San Angelo's Second COVID-19 Cluster

San Angelo's tenth COVID-19 case spread the disease to three people when they visited a local business.  The man in his 30's had an unknown source of his disease.  Three women in their 40's contracted the disease as a result of this person visiting their place of work.  This is the second publicly known cluster.  A local family had the coronavirus spread through their household.

City officials stopped sharing information on new individual cases on their COVID-19 webpage.  They are sharing basic information about the patient's sex and age with the media for new positive tests.

Contrast this approach with South Korea, a country which used data and information to arm authorities and citizens to intelligently combat the COVID-19 threat.

The result of the tracking is not only used by health authorities but also made public via national and local government websites, free smartphone apps that show the locations of infections, and text message updates about new local cases. This help citizens avoid hotspots of infections.
South Korea mobilized massive resources right away to stop the coronavirus from overwhelming their country.  They have mostly contained their first wave.  The United States' COVID-19 tsunami may crest soon in hard hit parts of the country, but the water level is rising in non-hotspots.

Pray that those stricken with the disease make a full recovery and for the safety of family, friends and our community. 

Update 4-6-20:  The City reported 3 new COVID-19 cases, two preteen females and a male 50-59.  The total is 24 cases.  All had contact with known cases in our community.

Saturday, April 04, 2020

City Hits 20 COVID-19 Cases

The City of San Angelo reported three new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 20 confirmed cases.  The three new cases are all are women in their 40s.  The Standard Times stated that none involved community spread.  The city's website provided no information on cases 18, 19 and 20.  The younger patient profile continued with sixteen of the first 20 cases in our community are under the age of 50.

San Angelo could see in a matter of weeks what other areas are experiencing.  Cases in the United States are going up an order of magnitude every 8-9 days.  Today the U.S. hit 300,000 cases.  It hit 100,000 cases on March 26th, 

This exponential growth should be concerning to area citizens.  20 could become 200 around Easter.  200 could be 2,000 by May Day.

Practice physical distancing, wear a mask out in public and pray for the safety of family, friends and neighbors. 
Update 4-5-20:  The City reported its 21st case today, a male in his 60's who got the disease from a known COVID-19 patient.  

Friday, April 03, 2020

Seven New COVID-19 Cases in San Angelo

The City of San Angelo reported seven new confirmed coronavirus cases in our community.  They are:

Case #11: teenage female, family member of case #7 (preteen female)\
Case #12: newborn male, family member of case #7
Case #13: male in his 40s, family member of case #7
Case #14: female in her 40s, family contact with another positive case
Case #15: female in her 20s, family member of case #6 (female in her 20s)
Case #16: female in her 20s with no known contact with a positive case, categorized as a case of community spread
Case #17: female in her 60s, travel-related case.
Our area has younger people testing positive.  Only four of our seventeen cases are people over the age of 50.  Thirteen are in their 40's or lower.  This may not hold but it seems unusual given what has been shared about this disease.

The newest confirmed cases show disease clustering in families.  Pandemics spread in the following pattern:  case, case, case, cluster, cluster, boom.  San Angelo may be near the boom phase. Everyone should wear a mask. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Tom Green County has Nine COVID-19 Cases

The City of San Angelo Health Department reported three new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to nine in our area:

Case #1: male in his 70s who traveled 
Case #2: male in his 20s who came into contact with a positive case within the state 
Case #3: female in her 30s who had no known contact with a positive case, categorized as a case of community spread 
Case #4: male in his 30s, close family member of case #3 
Case #5: young boy, close family member of case #3
Case #6: female in her 20s who came into contact with a confirmed positive travel-related case
Case #7preteen female, she and her household have been self-isolating since March 24
Case #8: man in his 50s from out of town who was here for work purposes - currently hospitalized in San Angelo
Case #9: man in his 70s - currently hospitalized in San Angelo
Testing continues to rise, reaching 451, but turnaround remains a concern as 209 of those results are pending as of 2:00 pm today (3-31-20).
While testing is growing the number of patients with the virus can double in less than a week.  Roughly ten days ago an influential community leader estimated San Angelo had 600 COVID-19 cases.  If that were true it could have doubled twice, from 600 to 1,200 to 2,400 during that time. 

State Governors continue to share concerns about the limited number of tests available.  A nurse in Midland, Texas has symptoms but cannot get a test to see if they have the coronavirus.  This is concerning to co-workers and a potential risk for patients.  Shannon's Dr. Shultz explained the CDC testing criteria in a short video

Chris Martensen researched and posted videos over the last two months on his Peak Prosperity website.  Early on Chris illuminated a gold standard panedemic approach. 

Super spreader stories and MIT researchers lend credence to COVID-19 being airborne.  Those who need to go out in public to run critical errands should wear a mask and gloves, especially if someone in their home is medically fragile.  This novel coronavirus is easily spread and not a disease to be taken lightly.  The pattern in other communities has been case, case, case, cluster, cluster, boom.

I pray that our community be spared the sudden devastation this coronavirus has wrought elsewhere.  May it be manageable for our local health resources.

Update 4-2-20:  The City reported a tenth case.  Case #10: male in his 30s who had no known contact with a positive case, categorized as a case of community spread.  Seven of the first ten cases are under 40 years of age.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

City Ramps Up Testing

The City of San Angelo reported 287 COVID-19 tests have been performed and that 3 positive cases have been identified to date.  The number rose from 108 and no positives on 3-21-20.

A high profile community leader estimated San Angelo had 600 coronavirus cases This was prior to the city announcing the first positive case on 3-24-20.  Without testing it is difficult to know the rate of spread.  Other communities have seen cases double in 3-4 days and go up an order of magnitude every two weeks (examples:10 to 100, 100 to 1,000, 1,000 to 10,000, 10,000 to 100,000). 

Yahoo Finance reported:

Philanthropist and billionaire Bill Gates believes that the best way to stop the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, is to “quite dramatically” ramp up testing while keeping social distancing measures in place for six to ten weeks.

“We have to raise the level of testing and the prioritization of that testing quite dramatically ... so that we take the medical problem and really stop it before there's a large number of deaths.
Healthcare workers, especially those working with patients in the home, are flying blind at the moment.  Testing has increased in our community in the last week but it needs to increase dramatically for leaders and clinicians to understand the scope of the problem.  It will also help citizens make better decisions going forward.

God's peace, joy and strength be with us during this difficult time.

Update 3-29-20:  San Angelo has five total cases as two new cases of COVID-19, a young boy and man in his 30's, tested positive.  They are family of third case in Tom Green County, which resulted from community spread.

Pandemic spread goes case, case, case, cluster, cluster, boom.  

Update 3-30-20:  A small town in Northern Italy distributed masks to residents and is yet to experience their first case of coronavirus   A Washington choir experienced a cluster outbreak when no member was sneezing or coughing.  This led experts to conclude the virus is airborne.  Everyone wear a mask.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Tom Green County has First COVID-19 Case

The City of San Angelo reported this morning:

The City of San Angelo Health Department has confirmed one positive case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Tom Green County. This is the first case to be confirmed in the area. 

The affected person is a male in his seventies who had traveled, officials stated. 
As of now citizens don't know where in Tom Green County he lives.  A press conference is scheduled for 3:30 pm today.  It's officially here, five days after City Council held an emergency meeting.

One high profile community leader said last week that San Angelo likely had 600 cases.  Testing will begin to reveal the extent of the coronavirus in our community.  God bless us all, especially the elderly and medically fragile.

Update 3-25-20:  The City reported a second positive case, a young man in his 20's who'd contacted someone else in the state with the disease.  He received a test at Shannon and it was positive.

Update 3-28-20:  The City reported a third possible case, a woman in her 30's with no identifiable contact with a known coronavirus patient.  San Angelo has community spread. San Angelo is at case, case, case.  Next up cluster, cluster, boom.

Update 3-29-20:  There are two new cases bringing the total to five.  The new cases are family members of case #3, a young boy and a man in his 30's.

Update 3-30-20:  A sixth case has been identified, a young woman who had contact with a traveler who contracted COVID-19

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Conservative Senator, This Citizen and San Angelo Mayor Concerned about Coronavirus

The Republican Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said the following on February 27th in a meeting with supporters:

"There's one thing that I can tell you about this: It is much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history.  It is probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic."
The United States is about ten days behind Italy where coronavirus cases have overwhelmed hospitals and taken out healthcare professionals.  I had elective cancer surgery Monday at Shannon Medical Center.  Had I been in Washington state or New York City my procedure would've been cancelled.

The evening of my surgery Shannon reduced visitation to one family member.  They set up visitor screening at the front door, asking visitors to complete a COVID-19 screening.

While there I kept the door to hall closed.  Outside my room I could hear people coughing and wondered if that was a yet to be diagnosed person, patient or staff.  I needed to walk as part of my recovery and decided loops at my end of the hall would provide the best protection.

My goal was to get home as soon as possible and needed to complete a checklist to do so.  One of those was coughing.

During my two day hospital stay the world changed dramatically. Mayor Gunther and City Council went from addressing the potential outbreak in public comment on 3-17-20 to a full blown press conference on 3-19-20.   The City has links to substantial resources on its website.

The City is following CDC guidelines and recommendations.  Yes, that's the same CDC that botched testing, one of many key strategies required to control a pandemic.

San Angelo Live reported:

At the end of Friday, March 20, the City of San Angelo Heath Department reported:
  • 108 total tests taken
  • 16 negative tests
  • 92 tests are pending, awaiting the results from the lab
Today, a Shannon Medical Center spokeswoman said the labs are turning around the tests in about seven days.
On February 23rd, (nearly a month ago)

South Korea has raised its coronavirus alert to the "highest level" as confirmed case numbers keep rising.

President Moon Jae-in said the country faced "a grave turning point", and the next few days would be crucial in the battle to contain the outbreak. 
South Korea chose mass testing.  Our current seven day turnaround with 85% of test results not back falls well short of what is needed/required.

That means everyone has to do their part to protect themselves and their loved ones until the threat abates.  Listening to the call to help others during this time is encouraged.  Just do it safely.

May God's peace and love be upon you and remain with you.  In Christ's name we pray.  Amen