News

April 10, 2020 - I would like to wish everyone a wonderful and happy Easter. As of this afternoon, Shelby County’s number of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases is 32. These numbers are very concerning to me, especially with the Easter weekend starting today. I cannot stress strongly enough the need for caution, continue to follow all of the guidelines that you have been hearing for the last month. Stay at home as much as possible; keep your social circle small. When shopping, go in the store, get what you need, make payment and return home.

I encourage businesses that are interacting with customers to use face masks and wash your hands or sanitize them after ever transaction. If you are wearing gloves and not changing them between transactions, you may be cross-contaminating, therefore, spreading the virus more. Be smart and know that your actions affect the people around you. Also, please dispose of your gloves appropriately and not on the ground.

On a personal note, I am praying for our County and I urge you to join me. We need to lift each other up and bring our best selves to this fight. I don’t know why our numbers are so high, there are many theories out there; but I do know that we are in this together. I want to thank the medical heroes working on the front lines of this battle; I appreciate you and salute you. I pray for your continued mercy and strength.

Have faith, be smart, be kind, be well, be strong, stay safe!!

April 9, 2020 - The National Weather Service in Shreveport has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Southeastern Shelby County in eastern Texas, Northeastern San Augustine County in eastern Texas, Northwestern Sabine County in eastern Texas.

Until 6:15pm CDT.

At 5:27pm CDT, a severe thunderstorm was located over Macune, or 24 miles south of Center, moving east at 15 mph.

Hazard: 60 mph wind gusts and half dollar size hail.

Source: Radar indicated.

Impact: Hail damage to vehicles is expected. Expect wind damage to roofs, siding, and trees.

Locations impacted include Milam, San Augustine, Hemphill, Macune, Rosevine, Bronson, Denning, Sexton and Chinaquapin.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

For your protection move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a building.

April 9, 2020 - Shelby County Office of Emergency Management was notified Wednesday afternoon by Texas Dept. of State Health Services (DSHS) of 4 more positive confirmed cases of COVID-19 bringing the total case count for Shelby County to 21.

Most of these cases have been reported by DSHS to have no travel history thus meaning they contracted it because of community spread.

According to DSHS reporting, 7 of these 21 cases are hospitalized.

April 9, 2020 - Many questions are circulating concerning the number of COVID-19 positive cases as well as how those numbers are being generated and how the varying test results are impacting the Texas Department of State Health Services (TxDSHS) reported cases for Shelby County.

The confusion has developed due to public notification by some Shelby County citizens who received an in office positive test result and later received a negative test result via a different testing medium. Which test was correct and why didn't the reported positive cases for Shelby County decrease with the negative test result?

The number of positive cases of COVID-19 released by the TxDSHS is based only on testing results from molecular testing or swab testing; therefore, the in office positive test was not included in their numbers.

No testing is 100% accurate, and as more studies are released, a conclusion can be drawn that the number of positive cases of COVID-19 is being under reported.


Where are they going with those swabs?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) chose to use the swab testing as the way of confirming positive cases early on amid limited options for detecting the virus. However, the accuracy of swab testing has been in question. A local doctor in Center submitted to Shelby County Today (SCT) the below chart showing 'Corona testing positivity rates - Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA)' which showed the positive percentage rates of different types of specimen. The Nasal swab (nasopharyngeal swab) showed a 63% positive rate out of known positive cases, which is only a two-third detection accuracy rate. The pharyngeal swab (a swab of the back of the throat) showed a 32% positive rate in the same case study which is only a one-third detection accuracy rate. (Source: Detection of SARS-CoV-2 in Different Types of Clinical Specimens)

At this time, there are two testing options in Shelby County: (1) molecular testing (swab tests) and now (2) serological testing (blood sample rapid test), which tests specifically for exposure to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19. The serological tests were approved for use under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) on March 16, 2020. (Accelerated Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) Summary, COVID-19 RT-PCR Test)

The test cassette has three indicators: C (Control), IgG, and IgM. The test is conducted by taking a small finger-prick blood sample. The presence of immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies indicate recent exposure to COVID-19, while the presence of immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies indicate later-stage infection.

  • C - Control for the test.
  • IgM - Symptomatic 3-5 days, Asymptomatic 7 days. The test indicates the presence of IgM anti-COVID-19 in the specimen. The result is IgM anti-COVID-19 positive.
  • IgG - The test indicates for the presence of IgG anti-COVID-19 in the specimen. The result is IgG anti-COVID-19 positive.

The rapid test is being administered by Aurora Concepts and it is the CoronaChek, COVID-19 IgG/IgM Rapid Test Cassette. The test can be used as an auxiliary means of detecting COVID-19. The product states an accuracy rate of 99.6% for the IgG anti-COVID-19 in the specimen and a rate of 97.8% accuracy for IgM. On the test strip, the C should always show positive to indicate a good test strip. Then, if the IgG and IgM do not indicate anti-COVID-19, then the results are negative. If the IgG and/or the IgM show positive, the test is positive. The IgG indicates a later-stage infection and the IgM indicates a more recent exposure and infection.

If a test returns a positive result, the patient is given a swab test that is sent off to a lab for processing. If the swab test returns a positive, the confirmed case is reported to the TxDSHS to update their statistics for positive cases plus adding to the total tests. If the swab test returns a negative, the results are counted by TxDSHS as only an addition to the total tests.

Disclaimers are included with all testing options, which is true for the rapid test as well. Aurora Concepts provided SCT with their disclaimer. which is required by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to be included with all testing: "This test has not been reviewed by the FDA. Negative results do not rule out SARS-CoV-2 infection, particularly in those who have been in contact with the virus. Follow-up testing with a molecular diagnostic should be considered to rule out infection in these individuals. Results from antibody testing should not be used as the sole basis to diagnose or exclude SARS-CoV-2 infection or to inform infection status. Positive results may be due to past or present infection with non-SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus strains, such as coronavirus HKU1, NL63, OC42, or 229E."

Disclaimers are what they are - a warning which can be applied to all testing options. None of the tests available are 100% although the rapid test data appears to be more accurate according to case studies. However, the only way for someone wanting to prevent catching COVID-19 is to treat everyone as if they are infected by staying away and to treat yourself as if you are infected by staying at home. People who are exposed to COVID-19 and are asymptomatic are a real concern to containing the spread of this deadly virus as they aren't aware they are carriers of the virus and are more likely not to be tested.

If you take the rapid test and receive a positive and then take the swab test and receive a negative, does that mean you don't have COVID-19 or that you can't get it? The only sure answer is, if you test positive for COVID-19 with either test and you are not needing hospitalization, please stay at home for two weeks at minimum as recommended by health officials. (The Science Behind A 14-Day Quarantine After Possible COVID-19 Exposure)

SCT has been notifed by Aurora Concepts and Hope Community Medicine that they provide COVID-19 testing.

Sources and more information since we all have more time to read:

April 8, 2020 - Shelby County Office of Emergency Management was notified Tuesday afternoon by Texas Dept. of State Health Services (DSHS) of 4 more positive confirmed case of COVID-19 bringing the total case count for Shelby County to 17.

Most of these cases have been reported by DSHS to have no travel history thus meaning they contracted it because of community spread.

According to DSHS reporting, 6 of these 17 cases are hospitalized. 

April 7, 2020 - (Order Extensions and New Emergency Measures) - The Tenaha City Council met Monday, April 6, 2020 and extended the disaster declaration "Stay Home Stay Safe" order, Curfew Order, and has instituted new emergency measures due to the public health emergency related to Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Businesses identified as "High-Risk Essential Businesses" are limited to 10 patrons and five employees inside the building during any time the business is open to the public. Those with children under the age of 12, or with disabled persons requiring assistance will count collectively as one.

Those knowingly failing to comply with the order may be subject to a fine of $1,000 or confinement in jail not to exceed 180 days.

All High-Risk Essential businesses shall make hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, or soap and water with paper towels readily available to patrons and employees inside the building.

Employees shall regularly clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces, including check-out areas, shopping carts, door handles, employee break rooms, public and employee bathrooms and other common areas.

The orders to Stay Home-Stay Safe, Curfew and the new emergency measures shall continue until further notice.

The council also agreed to move the upcoming election to Novembers 3, 2020.

April 7, 2020 - Shelby County Office of Emergency Management was notified by Texas Dept. of State Health Services (DSHS) of another positive confirmed case of COVID-19 bringing the total case count for Shelby County to 13. 

Most of these cases have been reported by DSHS to have no travel history thus meaning they contracted it because of community spread.

According to DSHS reporting, 4 of these 13 cases are hospitalized. 

April 3, 2020 - Notice is hereby given that a Regular meeting of the Governing body of the Shelby County Commissioners’ Court will be held on the 8th day of April, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. in the Courtroom of the Shelby County Courthouse at 200 San Augustine Street, Center, Shelby County, Texas to deliberate and consider action on the following items:

“Pursuant to the Suspension Order by Governor Abbott, the Commissioners Court meeting will be closed to protect the public, staff and members from potential exposure to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).  The public may participate in the meeting through the following number.

1. Approve the minutes of the March 4, 2020 Special meeting, March 11, 2020 Regular meeting, March 18, 2020 Special meeting, March 25, 2020 Special meeting, of the Shelby County Commissioner’s Court.

2. Approve and pay weekly expenses.

3. Approve Officers Report.

4. Public Comments on Agenda item.

5. Discuss and possibly approve connecting the SO phones and internet to fiber. 

6. Adjourn.

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April 5, 2020 - TXDOT and Texas Department of Public Safety have limited east and westbound traffic to single lanes of travel at the Logansport bridge Sunday, April 5, 2020 in accordance with Executive Order GA-12 from Governor Greg Abbott limiting traffic to that which is essential from Louisiana.

As vehicles cross the bridge, Troopers wearing Personal Protective Equipment are checking for valid paperwork indicating the driver, and/or passenger are essential to travel into Texas. Such paperwork would have a business letterhead describing where the person works, and what their job duties will be while they're working.

Anyone seeking guidance on what defines an "Essential Worker," can find more information at cisa.gov

At this time the Joaquin Public Boat Ramp is closed, and those approaching with boats are being turned back. 

Providing necessary support to the Troopers at the bridge are constables with the Precinct 3 Constable office.

Travelers heading into Texas from Louisiana are advised to have paperwork ready indicating they are "essential" to facilitate a quick stop and not risk being turned back.

Troopers will remain at the border with Louisiana until further notice.


Although the store is making efforts to prevent further spread of COVID-19, the parking lot was very full Friday afternoon.

April 3, 2020 - The Walmart in Center has issued two announcements recently that explain changes to store access and store services.

According to the announcement, the grocery entrance is the only way to gain entry to the store and a boundary line has been established across the front of the store to the grocery entrance to facilitate the 6 foot Social Distancing rules.

The other announcement from the store indicates Pharmacy Curbside pickup is now available. Customers are instructed to contact the pharmacy and park in between the General Merchandise entrance and the Garden Center entrance, where the pharmacy staff can meet you.

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