Fort Bend County recorded its 54th case of COVID-19 on Wednesday, and authorities suspect as many as 100 or more people will test positive for the potentially deadly virus in the weeks to come.
The eight new cases were reported on the county’s newly launched online COVID-19 Response Hub.
Of the 54 cases, five people have completely recovered, authorities reported.
A total of 26% of the victims have been hospitalized and 65% are recuperating at home. Nine percent have recovered.
There have been no deaths in Fort Bend County as a result of the novel coronavirus, authorities report.
“If it was 10 a week ago and now it is 47, this number is going to go up,” Fort Bend County Judge KP George said during a news conference on Tuesday in which he announced the “Stay Home and Save Lives” order.
“There is no doubt this number is going to go up. And if it gets to 100 or beyond I wouldn’t be surprised, because we are going to have more facilities available to test these people, and we are going to see more cases.”
The first testing site opened Thursday morning at OakBend Medical Center’s Sugar Land branch, located at 4911 Sandhill Drive south of the intersection of U.S. 90A and Texas-99 (Grand Parkway).
George said Fort Bend County does not have enough intensive care unit beds, personal protective care equipment or ventilators to “allow daily life to continue as it has been.”
“I did not make this decision lightly, but neither did I hesitate,” he said, referring to the stay home order.
“Our number of cases are exponentially increasing. Our healthcare system will be overwhelmed if we do not take drastic action.”
The stay home order requires people to stay home unless they are essential workers or their business is essential to the health and well-being of citizens.
The order is not a total lock-down but prohibits public and private gatherings. It allows people to go to stores and pharmacies and even walk the dog and exercise outside as long as they maintain a 6-foot distance from other people.
The order expires April 3.
Dr. Jacqueline Minter, director of the Fort Bend County Health Authority, said the order will hopefully “flatten the curve” of the virus, which means the number of cases would not peak at a high number.
Social distancing will allow county, state and federal officials to prepare hospitals and first responders for an influx of COVID-19 patients and stockpile the needed supplies and equipment.
“There is no indication that this trend exponential will not continue,” she said during Tuesday’s news conference.
“It is clear from experiences from around the world and our country, we have to be consistently vigilant and flexible in our response to COVID-19 in order to protect our most vulnerable residents and our healthcare system.”
George said the number of COVID-19 cases will rise once testing begins.
“We talk about we don’t have enough testing sites,” he said. “That means we are not testing everybody we should be testing.”
Why shut down the economy and issue a stay home order when a mere 50 or so people in a county of 880,000 have contracted the virus?
“Please understand, very close to one-third of our population is not born in this country, and maybe half or more of our population is traveling overseas all the time,” George said, inferring that some of these people could have the virus and not know it yet.
“They’re going and they’re coming back.”