Covid-19 cases are rising rapidly in Fannin County, and County Judge Randy Moore wants the public to do what it can to prevent further outbreaks.
As of Tuesday morning, there were 2,596 confirmed cases of Covid-19 since March 2020 with 901 probable cases. The number Moore said he keeps an eye on is active cases, and that was up to 20 on Tuesday with just one of those cases in the prison. Just last month, there were three active cases in the county with two of them in the prison. There have been 109 Covid-19 related deaths, Moore said.
“And then the other figure I look at is the hospitalization rate, and our hospitalization rate has now risen to 5.23%. So, it’s actually coming back up,” Moore said.
Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the highly contagious delta variant is the dominant strain of Covid-19 circulating in the U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy noted all coronavirus deaths are now among the tens of millions of people who are unvaccinated. The delta variant also is fueling a rise in breakthrough cases in which vaccinated people are testing positive for Covid-19, however, they generally experience no to mild symptoms of the respiratory disease.’
“I contacted our Fannin County Health Authority (Dr. James Froelich III) and asked him, ‘what’s your take on this? What’s happening?’ And he said, ‘one, don’t get scared.’ I like that; don’t get scared. He said, ‘number two, get vaccinated,’” Moore said, adding Froelich reported seeing seven Covid-19 positive patients this month and all were unvaccinated. “He said the difference he’s seeing now is it’s hitting the 30 to 40 age group, and he said it is the delta variant.”
Moore pleaded with the public to follow common sense guidelines, such as staying home from work and public places when ill and wearing a mask in public places if so inclined.
Following Moore’s report, commissioners unanimously approved one-week extensions of the county’s Covid-19 disaster declaration and its response and continuity of operations plan.
Also as part of Tuesday’s agenda, commissioners received a second quarter report from Indigent Health Care director Mark DeMay, who reported 517 inbound calls, 494 outbound calls and 84 in-office appointments during the three-month period. Thirty-two people sought indigent health care, and 14 were approved, DeMay reported. There are seven pending applications, he said, adding 11 people were denied services.
Ten people came off the program in the second quarter, leaving a total of 32 active cases — nearly three times the number DeMay started with, he said. Fannin County is growing in population, and more and more people are seeking and qualifying for indigent health care services, DeMay said. Four of the 10 cases that came off the program returned to work, while two were approved for disability, two moved outside the county and two were taken off for non-compliance, DeMay reported.
For the second quarter, DeMay paid 298 indigent claims totaling $124,586.09. Inmate claims totaled 70 for $19,558.69, he said.
Noting that the program is spending more than in years past, DeMay said that’s because the county had fewer cases, was wrongfully denying people and had no case management. He added more people than ever are calling the office and qualifying for the care, and the county cannot wrongfully deny them the service. The goal is to get them back to work or on disability so they are off the program, he said.