As of Aug. 10, Gray County sat at 26 active COVID-19 cases and was still at level yellow.
But County Judge Chris Porter said where the State sits with reporting Covid cases to County Judge/Health Coordinators is far different than just a few months ago.
“I’m really kind of frustrated with things right now,” Porter said. “The legislature de-funded the contact tracing. We no longer have contact tracing to the county judges. That was ended July 12.
“Basically, what they told us was the best way to keep track was on the Texas COVID-19 dashboard through the Texas Department of State Health Services.”
Porter said the problem with that method of reporting is the delay in reporting.
“The CDC notified our hospital last week that we were are a hot-spot because we went from three cases to 13 cases,” Porter said. “They are going off percentages. I have no problem going off of percentages but I want to see the numbers involved.
“If I were to tell you that one person out of 22,000 people contracted it and then all of a sudden 10 contract, you can say you’ve had a 1,000-percent increase and it sounds horrible. But it’s not really as bad as you think compared to the overall populous.”
But the bottom line is that Covid is still out there and the public needs to be smart when deciding their plan of action.
“It’s been out there for a year and a half,” Porter said. “If you want to wear a mask, you should wear a mask. If you feel more comfortable not wearing a mask, you shouldn’t wear a mask.
“There’s been a lot of questions about whether or not people should be vaccinated, I’m not a proponent of mass vaccination. I feel like this is a personal choice if you want to be vaccinated or not.”
Porter emphasized that if you’re sick to stay home as to not spread whatever your ailment is.
“You’ve got to make sure if you’re sick enough to get tested for Covid, you’ve got to at least wait until you get the result back in before you make the determination to return to work,” Porter said. “There is the potential there you could spread it through a large group of people and not even intend to do that. If you’re sick, stay home.”
As for the emergency declaration passed every month by the Gray County Commissioner’s Court, it’s to protect the hospital.
“I am uncertain of where our hospital will be able to handle a large influx of people who needed specialized care for Covid,” Porter said. “If you have 10 people who need a ventilator in Gray County, our ventilators are being used and we don’t have the resources to watch those 10 people. So you need to get the right people, which is why I have voted to extend the disaster declaration every time.”
Porter added that of the five people at Pampa Regional Medical Center for Covid-related illnesses, only two were from Gray County.
“The other three are diverted here from larger cities because they couldn’t handle the load,” Porter said. “When you’re diverting to Pampa, Texas from a larger city, you’ve got a problem.
“My main concern of this is the protection of our medical resources and the ability to get those state-funded nurses and respiratory therapists to be able to handle the load if we do have something run rampant through our population.”
Pampa still remains at a level yellow while Amarillo is at a level orange.
“There has been no change for Gray County because we have not seen the rampant numbers Amarillo is seeing,” Porter said. “If we start getting calls from nurses for resources from the Department of Emergency Management, I am sure the Mayor (Lance DeFever) and I and the other members on the committee will figure out if we need to raise it up or not.”
For more information on where Pampa/Gray County sits on Covid cases, visit the Texas COVID-19 dashboard at https://dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/AdditionalData.aspx. But keep in mind, the information is delayed.