Mineral Wells Area News

Palo Pinto County Sees Dramatic Spike in COVID Cases, MWISD Won’t Follow Lead of Larger Districts

Palo Pinto County Sees Dramatic Spike in COVID Cases, MWISD Won’t Follow Lead of Larger Districts
August 11
03:08 2021
PPGH Is Feeling Strained Due to Delta variant of COVID-19

“Like many other hospitals across the State, Palo Pinto General Hospital has a seen a significant rise in both patients testing positive as well as patients admitted to the hospital. The hospital is very busy and reaching capacity.”

 

PPGH CEO Ross Korkmas

PPGH CEO Ross Korkmas made the announcement this week that the hospital had begun taking precautions to ensure they are not short staffed during this uptick in COVID cases.

The number of COVID patients is climbing across the state and many of the metro areas hospitals are nearing capacity, making it more difficult for rural hospitals to transfer seriously ill patients for more acute care.

“Effective Sunday, August 8th, 2021 we decided to postpone elective surgical procedures in order to have more staff available to care for the influx of COVID patients. We will continue to do emergent and urgent surgical cases,” announced PPGH CEO Ross Korkmas.

NYT COVID-19 Data Tracker

“Like many other hospitals across the state, Palo Pinto General Hospital has a seen a significant rise in both patients testing positive as well as patients admitted to the hospital. The hospital is very busy and reaching capacity,” said Korkmas.

According to COVID data published by the New York Times, PPGH hospitalization is up 355% in the last two weeks. The same NYT report says an additional 37 cases were confirmed between Aug 9-10 and cases are up 200% in a 14-day period. Their data also indicates there are no ICU beds available at PPGH.

NYT COVID Data for Palo Pinto County can be viewed here.

Just as the medical community at Palo Pinto General Hospital begins to retighten COVID policies, teachers and students in the ISD prepare to head back to the classrooms with less restrictions this year. Due to an Executive Order enacted by Governor Greg Abbott, students won’t be required to wear masks this year.

“MWISD will not require the use of masks. This is in keeping with the language of Governor Abbott’s executive order GA-38, which prohibits governmental entities (including ISDs) from mandating the use of face coverings. Students, staff, and visitors who wish to use masks or face coverings for their own safety or the safety of others are encouraged to do so.”

Kuhn also has released a statement regarding MWISD COVID-19 Protocols for the impending school year. It encourages hand washing & distancing when possible. The policy also says there will be no remote learning this year either. MWISD 2021 COVID-19 Protocols

Not all school districts are abiding the governors executive order. Some larger districts in the state have decided to put safety above divisive politics. On Monday August 2nd, Dallas ISD announced their student’s would be required to wear masks, which was followed quickly by an Austin ISD announcement, and then by Texas Christian University following suit. All of them will require masks for students and faculty on their campuses. Some districts in the state are also returning to a virtual classroom option to keep kids safe this year.

School districts are beginning to rethink the executive order as the Delta variant is much more contagious and hitting younger patients harder. As the first day of school creeps nearer, some larger school districts are following the lead of Dallas ISD, including Ft Worth ISD, but so far, few rural areas in the state have followed suit.

Superintendent John Kuhn understands the polarization of mask wearing and took to social media to encourage parents to have a conversation with their kids about mask shaming.

“Whatever someone’s reason for using a mask is, it’s really no one else’s business, and no one should feel obligated to have to constantly explain their private medical conditions or whatever other circumstance led them to choose to wear a mask.”

Late this summer the American Academy of Pediatrics took a stance that all children over 2 years old should be wearing masks this fall when heading back to school. And just this week, Cook’s Children Hospital issued a 10-point safety guide for safely opening schools, and submitted a recommendation letter from 170 of their physicians.

“We strongly encourage universal masking for students and staff in accordance with CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations. Minimize contacts for each student to the greatest degree possible.
Encourage and support all opportunities for eligible children to receive COVID-19 vaccination,” Cook’s Children’s Physicians.

The first day of class in Mineral Wells is August 18th.

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