As of Thursday, July 9, Sutton County has 22 reported positive COVID-19/Coronavirus cases, according to local, area and state sources.

These sources include Sutton County Judge Steve Smith, Department of State Health Services, LMH Hospital and the San Angelo Health Department.

This week, LMH Hospital in Sonora has reported 3 new cases of coronavirus. The latest case reported today is a female in her 50s.

The City of San Angelo and the Tom Green County Health Department reported four new cases for Sutton County today as well.

The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is reporting 16 cases for Sutton County according to an update posted on the DSHS website at 3:50 p.m. this afternoon.

DSHS is also reporting 2 recoveries for Sutton County. Local authorities report 3 people have recovered from the virus. There has been no fatalities reported for Sutton County due to Coronavirus.

LMH Interim CEO Lance Keilers said COVID-19 testing is being conducted in Sonora for local residents as well as individuals who live out of county.

Keilers said LMH will continue testing all individuals who have symptoms or think they may have been exposed as long as testing materials are available. When tests and supplies become in short supply, testing may be limited to local residents only, he said.

Currently, LMH uses swab testing. Patient samples are sent to a lab for testing and results are returned to the hospital or the patient’s local health care provider.

Test results for COVID-19 that require remote lab confirmation can take more than a week to return as cases continue to surge across Texas.

LMH Hospital Chief Operations Officer Joe Marshall said the rapid test is not currently available in Sonora.

The closest facility conducting COVID-19 rapid testing is Shannon Medical Center, in San Angelo, Marshall said.

Drive thru testing is also available in San Angelo.

In a press conference Tuesday, July 7, Shannon Medical Center, Chief Medical Officer Chris Barnett, M.D. said Shannon Hospital has some rapid tests available, Results are returned within 24 hours. However, the hospital is reserving the rapid tests for patients being admitted to help determine the course of treatment. Additionally, rapid tests are being used for health care workers who are essential to the care of COVID-19 patients, Barnett said.

Patients who test positive are isolated at home and away from others. Confirmed COVID-19 cases and patient information is reported to the state as required.

Keilers said LMH is providing COVID-19 patient data to the state as required, but the surge in the number of positive tests in Texas is overwhelming.

Therefore, data reported on the state’s COVID-19 Dashboard lags behind local data.

A list of Sutton County residents who have contracted the virus:

June 18, 2020
1) a male in his 60s - travel related

June 22, 2020
2) a male in his 40s
3) a female in her 40s - One travel related;
one exposure to a known case

June 27, 2020
4) a male in his 60s - hospitalized

June 29, 2020
5) a female in her 70s

July 1, 2020
6) a female in her 60s - exposure to a known case
7) a male in his 30s
8) a male in his 50s - travel related
9) a female in her 60s - travel related
10) a male in his 50s
11) a male in his 20s
12) a female in her 20s - (San Angelo Health Department)

July 3, 2020
13) a female in her 60s - (San Angelo Health Department)
14) a female in her 90s - (San Angelo Health Department)
15) a female in her 20s - (San Angelo Health Department)

July 8, 2020
16) a female in her 30s
17) a female in her teens

July 9, 2020
18) a female in her 50s
19) a hispanic male in his 60s- (San Angelo Health Department)
20) a hispanic female in her 50s- (San Angelo Health Department)
21) a Hispanic female in her 70s- (San Angelo Health Department)
22) a Hispanic male in his 80s- (San Angelo Health Department)

Nearby, Schleicher County reported a total of 21 positive cases and one COVID-19 fatality, according to the Eldorado Success.

Additionally, the Ozona Stockman reported 18 total cases for Crockett County and Reagan County reported their care center has six residents who tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Big Lake Wildcat.

Texas now has 230,346 reported cases of Coronavirus, according to DSHS.

The state is reporting of those, 118,326 Texans have recovered from the virus.

There have been 2,918 fatalities in Texas related to COVID-19.

According to The Texas Tribune, “Texas’ new confirmed cases of the coronavirus now make up around 14% of the U.S. total — measured by a seven-day average — a significantly higher proportion than its 9% share of the nation’s population. Since July 1, the U.S. has reported 358,027 new infections. Of those, 50,599 were in Texas.”

Nationwide, there is now over three million reported cases of COVID-19 and more than 130,000 deaths due to COVID.

The Center for Disease Control states that even if a person tests negative for COVID-19, or feels healthy, they should stay quarantined since symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

According to the CDC website, symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.

In an effort to continue mitigating the spread of Coronavirus in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order requiring Texans living in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth while in a business or other public building, as well as outdoor public spaces, whenever social distancing is not possible on Thursday, July 2.

In response to the announcement, Sutton County Judge Smith filed for an exemption to the mandatory mask order for Sutton County. The request was approved by the governor’s office and Sutton County is listed on the state’s website as exempt from the mandatory statewide requirement for now, according to Smith said.

Sutton County will remain exempt from the mask mandate as long as the total positive cases remain under 20, he added.