State reports two COVID-19 fatalities in county

Staff Reports
Posted 8/4/20

The Texas Department of State Health Services reports two Madison County residents have died related to COVID-19, also known as the novel coronavirus, via the state agency’s online dashboard.

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State reports two COVID-19 fatalities in county

Posted

The Texas Department of State Health Services reports two Madison County residents have died related to COVID-19, also known as the novel coronavirus, via the state agency’s online dashboard.

The deaths would be the first in Madison County due to the virus. The first death was reported July 25, but did not appear on the DSHS dashboard early last week. The second, according to DSHS data, was on July 29.

Madison County Emergency Management Coorindator Shelly Butts said as of Monday, the DSHS Region 7 office, which oversees the county, had identified the possibility of one death, but had not yet received the death certificate.

Per normal, the numbers reported directly by DSHS Region 7 are different than those reported on the DSHS dashboard, which often includes cases from Texas prisons.

Madison County currently has 490 active cases of the virus, according to the DSHS dashboard, with 645 total confirmed cases. According to the DSHS Region 7 line list sent to county officials, the confirmed case count is actually 208, excluding numbers from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Ferguson Unit near Midway.

TDCJ reports 109 active cases of COVID-19 among offenders at the Ferguson Unit, and 63 active cases among employees.

Madisonville Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Keith Smith confirmed Tuesday that the board will discuss Thursday night a week delay in opening classrooms for school due to the pandemic.

School districts around Texas can delay reopening up to eight weeks and apply for waivers to keep their buildings closed beyond that if they believe they need one.

In a statement Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott said local health authorities can shut down schools if there’s evidence of an outbreak after students return to campus.

"The top priority is protecting the safety and health of students, teachers, staff, and families. To achieve that goal, the TEA provided local school boards the flexibility they need to open schools in ways that ensure public safety while also providing the best education options for students during this challenging school year,” Abbott said in a joint statement with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, Senate Education Chairman Larry Taylor and House Education Chairman Dan Huberty.

"The authority to decide when the school year will begin lies with local school boards. They can choose dates in August, September, or even later. But, whenever the local school board chooses to open, the board must comply with the requirement to provide the necessary number of days and hours of instruction for students.”

Around the state, the number of newly reported fatalities due to COVID-19 have calmed since spiking in July. The DSHS dashboard shows 37 newly reported fatalities on Monday, compared with 200 on July 14. The number fell as low as three fatalities on Friday. DSHS reports there have been 7,016 deaths due to the virus.

Daily new cases in Texas has also dipped, with 5,839 new cases reported Monday, compared with a mid-July stretch of more than 10,000 cases reported per day.

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