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Coronavirus continues to spread

By Dawn Burleigh

Numbers released this week show the COVID-19 virus continues to spread and affect residents of Orange County. The current number of active cases is 1738 which is up by 274 from the previous week. Of those, 670 were confirmed, 10 more than the previous week and 1068 were probable, up by 264 from the previous week. Confirmed positive and probable positives are based on the type of test administrated. The individual is considered positive with either test.

The number of recovered persons was 43 higher than the previous week at 3,761.

There are 5 less persons hospitalized due to the virus and no COVID related deaths were reported this week as the number remains at 46.

The grand total of COVID-19 cases since March 2020 is 5,545 or 6.6% of the population in Orange County.

The Medical Center of Southeast Texas began administering the COVID-19 vaccine to first responders in Southeast Texas.  Vaccinations began Thursday morning and will be administered in a phased approach for all first responders according to criteria outlined by the CDC and ACIP.

The Medical Center has been contacting and scheduling vaccines with many agencies and will continue to work closely with all first responder agencies to ensure those who want a vaccine, receive one.   If any first responder has questions about receiving a vaccine, they are encouraged to ask their supervisor for more details.

Once an individual is vaccinated, all participants will receive the “Vsafe” handout from the CDC to help monitor symptoms. The Medical Center Vaccination clinic will monitor individuals for 15 minutes post injection for any initial reactions. All participants are scheduled for their second injection at the time of the first injection. time. 17-23 days after the first injection, participants will return to the Medical Center of Southeast Texas for the second injection of the vaccine, according to a press release.

The first known case of a new and more contagious coronavirus strain has been reported in Texas, in an adult male resident of Harris County who had no history of travel, according to the state health services department and County Judge Lina Hidalgo.

The variant known as B.1.1.7 was first identified in the United Kingdom, where it has spread quickly, and cases have been found in several U.S. states, including California and Colorado. It does not cause a more severe disease, and vaccines “are expected to be effective against it,” the health services department said, citing the existing scientific evidence.

Because the man had not traveled, it’s likely the strain is already circulating in Harris County or Texas, health and local officials said Thursday — with Hidalgo saying she didn’t want to “pretend… this is something we can contain,” according to the Texas Tribune.