BEEVILLE – Cases of COVID-19 continue to climb in Bee County, with  a surge occurring in the Garza East Unit.

Garza East, one of three Texas Department of Criminal Justice prisons located just outside Beeville, Aug. 4 reported 115 active cases among offenders, with four listed as recovered. Among employees, there were 12 cases with eight listed as recovered.

The active cases among the inmates reflect an increase of 15 from the previous day. 

“... You will notice a substantial jump in positive cases in the Garza East Unit,” said Bee County Judge Trace Morrill Aug. 3. These are the result of mass testing conducted by TDCJ late last week and into the weekend. Of the 100 cases, TDCJ reports that 95 are asymptomatic.”

With regard to the county’s other state prison facilities, TDCJ on its online dashboard reports that there are 12 active offender cases in the Garza West Unit, with 12 cases considered as recovered. Among employees, there were 15 active cases, 10 recovered.

In the McConnell Unit, 33 offenders were listed as active cases, while 29 were reported to be recovered. Employee numbers are considerably higher, with 92 active cases and 9 recovered.

Among Bee County residents, there are been  441 cases confirmed since tracking begun. This includes 30 new cases reported Aug. 3 and the subtraction of an earlier case involving a patient who does not actually reside in the county.

Counting inmates and residents, DSHS as of 4 p.m. Aug. 3 counted a total of 626 cases, with 302 being active and 215 considered recovered. 

Nine of these cases, according to DSHS, have resulted in a fatality.

“We understand that the dashboard numbers do not always align with our confirmed cases and, like today, might not even add up,” Morrill said. “We have no control over the DSHS dashboard.”

Also as of Aug. 3, there were 22 patients hospitalized in Christus Spohn Hospital Beeville due to COVID-19, with 14 of them listed as Bee County residents. Among the patients, 14 reside in Bee County,  three are TDCJ inmates and one is a federal inmate.

There are free COVID-19 testing events scheduled for Aug. 8-10, beginning at 9 a.m. each day. No appointment is necessary, but those wishing to be tested are asked to bring a cellular telephone and a photo identification card.

The county’s COVID-19 hotline, 361-492-5981, remains open to answer coronavirus questions and conduct pre-screening interviews for the Bee County COVID-19 Coalition’s drive-through testing facility.

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