Coronavirus

Walker County’s emergency department reported 154 new confirmed coronavirus cases during its afternoon COVID-19 update on Tuesday. 

Since the start of the pandemic in mid-March, the county has accounted for 7,363 positive cases of the coronavirus and 79 deaths. Approximately 2,004 COVID-19 cases are active.

Walker County has reported 483 new cases since the beginning of the new year, an average of 40.25 cases per day.

FREE PUBLIC TESTING

COVID-19 testing and public health service startup Curative recently announced the deployment of two new walk-up kiosks in Huntsville with up to 540 tests per day available to residents.

The two sites are located at Walker County Storm Shelter/Veterans Complex and Huntsville Memorial Hospital Rural Health Clinic and open to the general public.

“Curative is proud to be a crucial COVID-19 testing resource for the Huntsville community during this crucial moment in the pandemic,” said Fred Turner, CEO and co-founder of Curative. “Curative’s goal is to make testing more accessible with our easy walk-up kiosk. Our unique, self-collected oral fluid swab COVID-19 PCR test offers a painless, simple option with quick 24-48 hour results upon receipt at our labs delivered directly and at no cost to patients.”

Curative offers oral-fluid swab testing—an alternative method to nasopharyngeal or brain swabs in testing for COVID-19.

The observed and directed self-collected oral fluid swab involves having the person cough first, which releases the virus from the upper and lower respiratory tract. The virus is then caught in the saliva, the patient then swabs the inside of their cheeks and the roofs of their mouths. Once complete, the patient seals their test within a secure container and returns it to a medical professional to be administered in the lab. The entire Curative test is done without having to come into close contact with others, therefore eliminating the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) changes.

Testing is currently available by appointment at Walker County Storm Shelter/Veterans Complex and HMH Rural Health Clinic by appointment only. Appointments are available at curative.com as well as additional information on all of Curative’s offerings.

HIGH HOSPITALIZATIONS

Hospitalizations continued to rise in the Southeast Texas region, which currently has 20.71% of its hospital beds taken up by COVID-19 patients. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, approximately 70 ICU beds remain available.

Under orders from Gov. Greg Abbott and County Judge Danny Pierce, businesses in the county are required to operate at 50% capacity, while bars were forced to close. The region is required to have seven consecutive days below the 15% threshold in order to cancel the added restrictions. 

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