7-25-20 County tracks COVID-19 McKinney.jpg

As confirmed COVID-19 cases climbed in the county during July, Henderson County officials have continued to monitor the numbers to try to determine what they mean going forward.

Other than that, they’re following the lead of the state as to how they respond.

“Basically, the State of Texas cut local involvement, especially in the rural areas, out,” said County Judge Wade McKinney.

“This is the most unusual emergency we’ve ever been in,” McKinney said. “Most emergencies are not run this way. They are locally run.”

In the mean-time, the county tries to make sure that locations where the virus has been reported are flagged, so first responders will know if they are called.

The county has also built an inventory of masks and personal protection equipment to be available should there be a dramatic spike in cases.

Henderson County has also helped coordinate COVID-19 testing through the state. Recent testing has been available at several locations in the county.

McKinney said Brownsville area is an example of a place hard hit by COVID-19. The population is about 1.3 million, with almost 1,600 in the hospital. The Tyler area, which includes Henderson County, has only 245 hospitalized.

Increases in the statewide totals seem to foreshadow increases in the Henderson County area.

“We seem to always be two weeks are so behind what’s happening in the state,” he said.

Cases in the Henderson County have been steadily climbing, at the rate of about seven per day.

“In Texas, on Wednesday, about 11% of the state’s population had been tested for the virus. About 10% of the tests have been positive,” McKinney said. “That 10% has been holding steady.”

If the statewide percentages ran true in Henderson County, it would have had 953 cases and 12 fatalities. On Wednesday, the count was 465 cases, of which 130 had recovered. The death toll had risen to seven. Athens accounted for 196 cases and two deceased,

McKinney said one constant during the run of the virus has been the spirit of cooperation of the Henderson County officials.

“I’ve really been proud of them,” McKinney said.

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