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COVID numbers slowing down as holidays come to a close

Vaccines unavailable in Orange County

By Dawn Burleigh

With more than one type of test used for gathering COVID-19 tests results, the terms have caused confusion when reading the weekly numbers.

For the total positive cases in Orange County, the numbers include PCR (confirmed) and Antigen (probable) results. The number of active cases rose by 45 this week to 1464. Of those, 660 are confirmed cases using the PCR testing.

In PCR testing, a machine located in a laboratory or at a POC, depending on the test, runs a series of reactions. These reactions first convert the virus’s ribonucleic acid (RNA), if present, into deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and then amplify it (make millions of copies of the DNA); the test then detects this DNA. By running multiple amplification cycles, a PCR test can sense even low levels of viral genetic material in a patient’s sample, so these tests tend to be highly sensitive (especially laboratory PCR tests) according to fda.gov

The term “point-of-care” or POC refers to a patient care setting, such as a doctor’s office, that meets certain requirements.

Probable cases also rose by 74 to 804. Those persons were given the Antigen test.

Antigen tests are immunoassays that detect the presence of a specific viral antigen, which implies current viral infection. Antigen tests are currently authorized to be performed on nasopharyngeal or nasal swab specimens placed directly into the assay’s extraction buffer or reagent, according to the CDC.

None of the persons tested for antibodies are included in the active cases numbers.

An antibody test looks for antibodies that are made by your immune system in response to a threat, such as a specific virus. Antibodies can help fight infections. Antibodies can take several days or weeks to develop after you have an infection and may stay in your blood for several weeks or more after recovery. Because of this, antibody tests should not be used to diagnose COVID-19. At this time researchers do not know if the presence of antibodies means that you are immune to COVID-19 in the future, according to the FDA.

The total number of recovered persons rose by 169 bringing the total to 3718.

One more person was hospitalized this week bringing the current number of those in the hospital with COVID-19 to 27.

The grand total of COVID-19 cases in Orange County is at 5228, which is 214 higher than the previous week.

If one believes they have been exposed to or has symptoms of COVID-19, the following locations offer testing:

Totalcare

Totalcare, located at 1650 Texas Ave. in Bridge City, offers Rapid COVID testing. For more information call 1-833-698-6825

According to the website TX COVID-19 Test Collections Sites, the following locations offer testing for the virus.

TAN Healthcare

TAN Healthcare offers drive-up COVID19 screening and testing to Southeast Texas residents with or without insurance. Testing is by appointment only; please pre-register on the website. For pricing and other information, contact 409-832-8338.

CVS COVID-19 Test Site

CVS Health COVID-19 drive-up test locations are by appointment only.

290 Strickland Drive, Orange, TX 77630

2425 N. 16th St., Orange, TX 77630

485 Texas Avenue, Bridge City, TX 77611

1295 North Main Street, Vidor, TX 77662

Patients must register at https://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/covid-19-testing.

Exceptional Emergency Center – Orange

Exceptional Emergency Center – Orange is a freestanding full-service emergency room that is open 24/7. The ER is staffed with welcoming, well-trained nurses and board-certified physicians from the Southeast Texas community whose top priority is patient satisfaction. It specializes in healthcare for adults and children. They strive to provide SETX with top rated, exceptional care for injuries, infections, cardiology, COVID-19 and more.

Exceptional Emergency Center – Orange is currently evaluating and testing for COVID-19 via appointment only. To schedule an appointment, call (409) 670-9898.

1321 N 16th St, Orange, TX 77630

Quest Diagnostics – Orange

With QuestDirect, an individual can request the test and purchase it online. Each test request is reviewed and, if appropriate, an order for testing is issued by a licensed physician. Individuals have the opportunity to speak with a licensed physician about their results.

After purchasing the service online, an individual will be prompted to schedule an appointment for a blood draw at one of the 2,200 patient service centers Quest Diagnostics operates around the United States. For the safety of our patients and employees, individuals must not have experienced symptoms of COVID-19 for at least 10 days; wear a face mask; and pass a contact-less temperature check.

230 Strickland Drive, Orange, TX 77630

COVID-19 testing only (no screening) in Orange. For more information, please visit our website or call 866-MYQUEST

Gulf Coast Health Center Inc. Orange

According to https://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/, the operator of this Federallly Qualified Health Center is offering COVID-19 testing services.

Visit the clinic website or call to confirm that this location is offering testing and to find out about requirements.

1301 W Park Ave, Orange, TX 77630-4923

For more information, visit https://gulfcoasthc.org/ or call 409-338-4608

At this time, only 200 vaccines for COVID were supplied to Orange County. According to a citizen trying to locate where to get a vaccination in the area, there is only one pharmacy in Vidor with doses to serve medical workers and senior citizens in Orange County and it is little publicized, with a waiting list of one month already.

“This despite the fact that the City of Orange has four larger pharmacies including CVS, Walgreens and Kroger,” Bob Baptista wrote to Orange County Judge John Gothia. “None of the City pharmacies have doses of the vaccine and don’t know when they will get any.  That’s a bad situation for our citizens to be in considering the COVID case surge now underway!”

Calls requesting where the vaccines are and when they will be available to the senior citizens and other compromised residents in the area have been received at the paper.