Hunt County's COVID-19 statistics not being updated

Brad Kellar, The Herald Banner, Greenville, Texas
·3 min read

Apr. 17—There hasn't been a single new case of COVID-19 in Hunt County in a month.

While that may seem like good news, no one has reportedly recovered from the virus during the same time period.

In fact, there have been no updates concerning the virus in Hunt County for weeks and no one seems to know why.

The county had been using a COVID-19 task force to track the statistics. The Hunt County Commissioners Court entered into the contract with STAT Medical in April 2020, enlisting the company to act as a response team to provide temporary personnel and support for the Hunt County Health Department for COVID-19 investigations, quarantines and related matters.

In early March, the commissioners voted to terminate the contract. County Judge Bobby Stovall praised the company's efforts but added COVID-19 was so widespread that it made it almost impossible to trace where people are contracting the virus.

"We appreciate everything you did and everything your team did," Stovall said. "We've agreed it is time to turn the contract tracing over to the state and let the state deal with it from this point."

A few days later, Richard Hill, the executive director of the Hunt County Emergency Management Department, as well as the Hunt County Health Department, said the information would be released by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

"It is still in the process of being transferred over to the state," Hill said at that time.

No new updates have been released for Hunt County by the state agency for weeks.

The Texas Department of State Health Services said Friday morning that there had been 5,498 total cases of the virus in Hunt County, with 5,295 recoveries. Both statistics were unchanged since March 22. The number of deaths attributed the virus was reported to be 164, which has been unchanged since April 3.

The office of County Civil Attorney Daniel Ray had been releasing the daily updates for Stovall's office after they had been provided by the Hunt County Health Department. When asked earlier this month about the lag in statistics, Ray said the medical laboratories in the county were to provide the information to the state.

My understanding is that the labs who receive positive test results send that information in directly to the state (or they are supposed to do so) and the state updates those numbers directly," Ray said.

A check with the Hunt Regional Health Center referred the question back to Hill's office.

David Alexander with the office suggested contacting Dr. Gina Rushing, the Hunt County Health Department, and Hunt Regional Healthcare.

Attempts to reach Rushoing and the Health Department were unsuccessful Friday.

The positive reports had certainly went down and we begin focusing our efforts on helping getting the vaccine administered," Alexander said. "All labs, public or private, are required to send positive results to the State."

On a positive note, the numbers of Hunt County residents being vaccinated against COVID-19 continues to rise.

The Texas Department of State Health Services reported Friday that 25.61% of the county's population 16 years and older had received at least one dose of COVID-19, with 18.44% being fully vaccinated.

Of those residents 65 and older, 53.98% of the population had received at least one dose of the vaccine, with 44.85% being fully vaccinated as of Friday.

Multiple locations in Hunt County were reported to have quantities of COVID-19 vaccines in stock as of Friday morning. The list is available online at https://vaccinefinder.org/search/

Numbers of those vaccinated in Hunt County and in each county across the state is available online at https://tinyurl.com/29mgxxan