As the steady stream of positive COVID-19 cases becomes commonplace in Frio County, it’s important to step back to see where we stand state-wide and in our region…
Frio Compared to ALL Texas Counties
The Texas Tribune posed the question “where are most of the cases in Texas?” Using a “per 1,000 people” factor to compare counties with varying populations, Frio ranks 24th among all Texas counties:
A rank of 24 puts Frio County in the top 10% of counties in Texas. Furthermore, the GEO/ICE detainee count is behind in these Tribune numbers. As of today, Frio Covid Lifeline’s most updated total count is 436, which would increase our “per 1,000” number from 17.63 to 22.47.
FRIO COMPARED TO ADJACENT COUNTIES
- The blue line represents Frio County (graph 2.1) and uses the same “per 1,000 people” factor from the Texas Tribune.
- Frio County outpaces all adjacent counties in active cases per 1,000 residents, not including detainees. (graph 2.1)
- Frio County also outpaces all adjacent counties in total cases per 1,000 residents.
According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Frio is the only county in this group with active detainee cases. When active detainee cases are included, the disparity grows:
On July 15 and 16, two more GEO employees were confirmed positive as another detainee outbreak started at the South Texas ICE Processing Center. However, as Texas transitions to a private vendor for contact tracing, the amount of information we receive has decreased. Frio no longer receives all reports associated with workplace outbreaks, and may eventually receive none. Furthermore, our numbers have never counted GEO employees who stay in Frio during work days but have permanent residences out-of-county.
Contact tracing is an important part of the prevention of COVID-19 spread, as well as collection of data necessary for policy making. Our experience in Frio County receiving data from the Texas Department of State Health Services is consistent with this graph from covidactnow.org.
From CovidActNow, on 7/17/2020: “Per best available data, Texas has 2,800 contact tracers. With an average of 8,829 new daily cases, we estimate Texas needs 44,145 contact tracing staff to trace all new cases in 48 hours, before too many other people are infected. This means that Texas is likely able to trace only 6% of new COVID infections in 48 hours. These low levels of tracing suggest there may be an active outbreak underway in Texas, or almost no tracing capacity exists. Aggressive action urgently needed.
Experts recommend that at least 90% of contacts for each new case must be traced within 48 hours in order to contain COVID. Experts estimate that tracing each new case within 48 hours requires an average of 5 contact tracers per new case, as well as fast testing.”
SAN ANTONIO HOSPITAL BED/VENTILATOR CAPACITY
As the major hospital system in our network, San Antonio’s capacity will have a direct impact on our population, and on Frio Regional Hospital’s ability to transfer patients.
On July 16, San Antonio reported that their hospital system is under “severe stress:”
- 12% staffed beds available
- 46% ventilators available
The following graphic shows how quickly the hospital system can be strained: