The Ticking Time Bomb: Waiting for the First Coronavirus Sighting in San Angelo
SAN ANGELO, TX — The report from the City of San Angelo Health Department this afternoon was that so far, as of March 19 at 5 p.m., there are no reported cases of COVID-19 in the county.
Here are the current stats:
COVID-19 tests done in San Angelo (as of 5 p.m. March 19):
- 68 total tests taken
- 11 negative tests
- 57 pending results from the lab
Yesterday, health care officials said the COVID-19 tests are taking as long as seven days to return from the lab. As the number of those tested increases, the lag time to receive results induces a higher number of coronavirus cases that could be reported.
Statewide, the count of coronavirus cases jumped from 143 and an additional 3 deaths at noon yesterday to 194 and 5 deaths at noon today, a 37 percent increase in just one day. The number of tests administered and reported by the labs more than doubled overnight, from 2,335 Thursday to 5,277 today.
With 199 cases reported Friday against 5,277 tests, the rate of confirmed cases is 3.8 percent. Yesterday, that number approached 6 percent.
if you multiply 3.8 percent by the 57 pending test results not yet back to San Angelo from the lab, based on those percentages, there is a chance 2 confirmed cases in San Angelo could be reported soon. Keep in mind those being tested are screened first by a doctor to determine if they are at risk enough or exposed enough to warrant one.
Who is eligible for a coronavirus test?
- Be a high-risk patient
- Be a hospital patient with COVID-19 symptoms
- Be a Health care worker who has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus
- Be a patient with recent travel history in areas that have been affected by the disease
Writer Peggy Noonan used her weekly column in the Wall Street Journal to describe her journey to finally getting tested for coronavirus (See “We Need to Absorb All This”, March 19, 2020). Despite showing all the symptoms of being infected by the coronavirus — coughing and a fever — she was denied a test until she recalled she had interviewed someone in person who may have been in contact with another person infected with coronavirus. She is awaiting the results from the lab.
Shannon Medical Center has a drive-up coronavirus testing facility at the corner of Oakes St. at Beauregard Ave. near the Shannon Hospital. You will see the signs. Drive-up screening is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. But to get a coronavirus test, you will need an order from a nurse practitioner or doctor. Starting Monday, Shannon is stationing a senior health care professional — a doctor or nurse practitioner — at the drive-up screening area who has authority to order the test on the spot. But still, the screening medical provider will have to order a test according to CDC criteria mentioned above.
Here's where the drive-up coronavirus testing area is:
Shannon said as of Friday afternoon that tests are still taking 7 days to come back.
While awaiting the results of the test, the patient will receive instructions regarding self-quarantine and the next steps they must take until test results are returned. Also, patients who have been screened at another location may come to the site for testing with a provider’s order.
As more testing is accomplished across Texas and San Angelo, expect the number of confirmed cases to rise rapidly until the backlog of test results empties. Also realize that the tests are administered to those who meet the CDC guidelines and are more likely to test positive than someone in the general population not at-risk or having symptoms. This also means officials in San Angelo are highly likely to report the first confirmed case here very soon.
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