Somervell County is no longer on the short list of Texas counties that have had no reports of residents testing positive for the COVID-19 virus.
Three local residents learned that their tests came back as positive for COVID-19, and all were since Sunday, June 7, according to Dr. Steven Vacek, who is the designated public health authority for Glen Rose and Somervell County.
The first positive case involved a person who was tested on Friday of last week. Vacek said that the positive test was revealed on Sunday night. Vacek learned of the second and third positive cases early Monday morning, June 8.
Two of the cases are young adults “in their 20s and 30s”, Vacek said, and the other one is older than 65.
The two younger adults are in self-isolation at their homes. Vacek said that the goal of the isolation period is to continue for 14 days “from the end of symptoms.”
Vacek said of the other person who tested positive, “To my knowledge, the older one is hospitalized in the Fort Worth area.”
No other specific information on those individuals is available because of federal HIPPA privacy laws that apply, Vacek noted.
“There is no evidence (the three cases are) community-spread,” Vacek said, explaining that means there is nothing to indicate that the virus was transmitted as a result of tourists or other non-residents traveling here from other counties.
Vacek indicated he was not overly surprised by the news, considering how many cases have been announced in the closes surrounding counties. He noted that Johnson County has had almost 200 cases, while Hood County and Erath Counties have had more than 30. Bosque County has had seven or eight positive cases so far, he said.
Vacek noted that, before the three Somervell cases were known, it was one of only 19 counties — among the 254 counties in Texas — that had zero cases.
“Of course, I think everyone’s disappointed that we didn’t stay at zero, but I’m not surprised,” Vacek said, noting the county’s proximity to the highly populated Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, as well as the ease of travel from one area to another. “We were really the anomaly for a long time. People were proud we had a zero on the scoreboard, but now we’re not pitching a shutout.”
Glen Rose Medical Center had announced one previous positive case several weeks ago, but that was a Hood County resident who came to Glen Rose to have his test done.
While Somervell County residents should not think of the first cases as an apocalyptic moment, Vacek noted that the virus s still something to be taken very seriously — along with all recommended safety precautions such as social distancing and frequent washing of hands.
“There are a whole lot of people who just don’t think this is real because it hasn’t hit their family,” Vacek said. “But it is very real. It could be the tip of the iceberg. Only time will tell.”