Racing for a Remedy Profile of a Killer

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. Coronaviruses, including the newest one, are named for the spikes that cover their outer surface like a crown, or corona in Latin. Using those club-shaped spikes, the virus latches on to the outer wall of a human cell, invades it and replicates, creating viruses to hijack more cells. (NIAID-RML via AP)

In another sign of promising news about containing the coronavirus, Kerr County's positive cases appear to have fallen based on data from the Texas Department of State Health Services and Peterson Health. 

While the state's data often lags behind the local numbers, Kerr County had 295 recoveries, according to the state. Local officials pegged the county's number of total cases at 349 on Friday. The state's total is at 324 total cases as of Saturday. Somewhere in those two sets of numbers are active cases of about 54 — the fewest since mid June. 

Part of the reduction is due to reasons — local assumption of the county of recoveries, and changes in the way the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now assessing how long people have to be quarantined. From the CDC guidance: 

  • A test-based strategy is no longer recommended to determine when to discontinue home isolation, except in certain circumstances.
  • Symptom-based criteria were modified as follows:
    • Changed from “at least 72 hours” to “at least 24 hours” have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.
    • Changed from “improvement in respiratory symptoms” to “improvement in symptoms” to address expanding list of symptoms associated with COVID-19.
  • For patients with severe illness, duration of isolation for up to 20 days after symptom onset may be warranted. Consider consultation with infection control experts.
  • For persons who never develop symptoms, isolation and other precautions can be discontinued 10 days after the date of their first positive RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 RNA.

Across the state, the number of new cases continued to fall but there were still 8,112 new cases reported on Saturday. The number of deaths on Saturday was reported at 167. For the week, 1,020 Texans lost their lives as a result of COVID-19. 

The hospitalization situation continued to be a challenge across the state and in the San Antonio, where hospitals in the region were 89% full. On Friday, Peterson Regional Medical Center reported six people still in the hospital with the virus, including four in the intensive care unit. Across the San Antonio region, which includes Kerr County, there were about 1,000 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. 

Health officials reported 9,827 people hospitalized, down from 10,036 reported Friday, but noted that hospitalization numbers are incomplete during a transition to comply with new federal reporting requirements.

(2) comments

James WESSELING

One big error in the local reporting is not telling us how many tests results are outstanding. Delayed reporting of results can change the view of how many cases are active.

Alan Pazdernik

I am still not sure of the numbers of virus being reported - you report a big drop threw the state close to 200 that does not seem like a big drop. the other day the paper reported a change in the individuals reporting the number of virus cases, hoping some reporter will check the numbers and insure we are given the correct info???? is that too much to ask

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