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Abilene COVID-19

Abilene Taylor County Public Health District

As Taylor County tracks 2,249 active cases of COVID-19, Abilene and Taylor County officials are urging locals to do their part to slow the spread of the virus.  Local ICU beds are full, and the hospitals are now treating 83 patients for the coronavirus.  Abilene may be seeing hospital capacity stretched to the limit by COVID-19, but some other Texas cities have been completely overrun.  That’s led some cities to try enacting curfews, stay at home orders, and business closures, only to be challenged in court by Governor Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton.  Last week an appeals court ove

Dana Glover / KACU

Abilene Christian University is bringing staff back onto campus after most employees have spent more than three months working from home.  The university is on track to welcome students back to campus August 24th.

Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, ACU established three working teams focused on different aspects of the university’s response.  Recent positive test results at ACU's clinic have given the university a chance to start practicing contingency plans.

Courtesy of Annette Lerma

Taylor County’s daily reporting on COVID-19 numbers has changed in format and content  several times since March 26th, when officials announced the first local positive test result.  

Last week the number of cases being reported dropped sharply after officials removed more than 90 cases of positive prisoners at the Middleton and French Robertson Units, which are both in Abilene, but officially in Jones County.  That same day, state officials instructed Taylor County health officials to pull dozens of cases identified by serology blood tests as well.

Heather Claborn / KACU

 

Some four dozen firefighters have tested positive for COVID-19 in Abilene. That’s a big deal in a department that’s already short-staffed, with 189 members. 

Tuesday, the Abilene/Taylor County Public Health District said there were 277 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in its jurisdiction. About a quarter of the total – 62 cases – were among the very people who have been fighting against the spread of the coronavirus for the City of Abilene.

Courtesy of Annette Lerma

COVID-19 is spreading among some of the top leaders in the local fight against the virus.  Sunday city officials announced that 36 members of the Abilene Fire Department had received positive results over the previous 72 hours.    Annette Lerma Director of the Abilene/Taylor County Public Health District, is recovering from the coronavirus.  The health district closed its doors last week after several staff members tested positive.  She shares her experience, discusses testing limits, and explains what makes the reporting complicated.

Malcom Johnson

Malcom Johnson was the 17th patient identified with COVID-19 in Abilene.  Johnson learned he was positive for the virus on April second, while he was being cared for on the COVID-19 floor of Hendrick Medical Center.  The staff had been treating him as though he had the virus even before his results came back.  But he says after he got the positive results doctors added hydroxychloroquine to his medications and he started feeling better.