Slowing the Spread Update from UHV President Bob Glenn
As you know well, the state, Victoria and the Houston metropolitan area are all seeing the fastest rise of confirmed COVID-19 cases ever. What we hoped would be a month of re-opening has become the worst month for virus infections since the pandemic began in March, and UHV has not been spared. Several of our students, faculty, staff and their family members have tested positive for the virus. The Victoria mayor signed an order Thursday requiring all businesses in the city to mandate the use of face coverings. Simply stated, we all probably are being exposed to the virus from having close contact with infected people (whether they know they’re infected or not) or touching a contaminated surface. With hundreds of confirmed cases in a small city, it is now effectively all around us.
Here are some sobering facts from the Texas Department of State Health Services:
- Statewide, the number of confirmed cases is not spiking only because more testing is happening, but the positivity rate also is rising. On June 24, the positivity rate hit 11.8%, the highest since April 16.
- The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Texas is rising fast. In fact, it has risen every day since June 11 and is now at 4,739 as of June 25. To put this in perspective, this is more than twice as many people in the hospital because of COVID-19 in the state as at any other time since the pandemic began.
- As of June 25 in our region (DeWitt, Calhoun, Victoria, Goliad, Lavaca and Jackson counties), there were 31 COVID-19 confirmed patients in hospitals, with 190 beds and 22 ICU beds still available. Twenty-two ICU beds could go fast if we keep adding hundreds of cases every few days.
- The Victoria Advocate reported June 26 that Victoria County has now had 468 confirmed cases; this is an increase of 106 percent from the 227 cases reported on June 18. It took us almost three months to get to 227 cases and just eight days to more than double that number.
Our specific geographic area in Katy is not faring any better, with 731 confirmed cases (305 of which are active) just in the 77449 zip code, according to the Harris County Public Health Dept. On June 25, the Houston Chronicle reported that the 77449 zip code was the second highest in Harris County for confirmed cases. The Harris County case count has posted record numbers in the last several days.
I am not sharing this information to alarm you, but I am hoping to spread a collective sense of urgency to do all that is in our power to SLOW THE SPREAD. This is consistent with directives that are already in place at UHV and may be strengthened in the coming days as needed. At this point, the state, city and county must be looking hard at the possibility of going back to a shut-down and stay-at-home orders such as we had in April. We need to do all that we can to avoid this.
We can only do what we can do, so let’s not fail to do that:
- Wear a facial covering in public spaces.
- Wash and sanitize your hands frequently.
- Don’t go out any more than you need to.
- Practice social distancing.
Let’s set an example, and do all we can as a community to #slowthespread and #keepTexasopen.
Thank you for all that you do to keep UHV moving forward in a safe and responsible way.