Nacogdoches County ended July with 412 active cases of the coronavirus, as 59 new cases were announced on Friday, including more than 20 connected to the Nacgodoches County jail.
Friday’s new cases included 21 cases from the jail, which experienced an outbreak during the past week that has been traced to two inmates booked in mid-July.
“The state did test the jail several weeks back, but this is an ever-evolving and ever-changing situation,” County Emergency Management spokeswoman Amy Mehaffey said during a conference call with community leaders this week.
Including Friday’s cases, 64 inmates and jail staff have tested positive since last weekend. At least five of those cases are jail staff. Other cases released this week do not differentiate between staff and inmates.
County Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously voted to apply for $1.6 million in federal relief funding to help battle the spread of virus. The grant would include $320,000 of immediate cash for expenses incurred by the county such as protective equipment and testing.
“This is a very timely in the situation we have in the jail right now,” County Judge Greg Sowell said.
Administered through the Texas Department of Emergency Management, grants also cover overtime and hazard pay and emergency sick leave for county employees.
Active cases, or patients testing positive and still contagious, increased by 339 during July, compared to 73 active cases one month ago. Of the current active cases, 31 were hospitalized as of Friday, with 10 of those in intensive care.
Since testing began in Nacogdoches County in March, 997 cases have been confirmed. Thirty-two patients have died and an estimated 553 have recovered.
The mortality rate as of Friday afternoon stood at 3.2% here. The rate is the percentage of confirmed cases resulting in a death. The true infection and mortality rate is unknown because the virus can be carried by people who do not exhibit symptoms.
U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, was diagnosed with the virus earlier this week but said he has not shown symptoms.
A local call center also remains open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday at 936-468-4787 for those with flu-like symptoms.