Coronavirus: live updates for the Big Bend region

DISCLAIMER (2/22): The Big Bend Sentinel has concerns about the accuracy of state coronavirus numbers for the tri-county and for that reason is no longer providing daily case-number updates on this page. Instead, we will be providing other timely coronavirus information on this page, including details on the timing and location of testing sites and vaccination clinics. Our concerns about state coronavirus data are based on the fact that (a) testing sites in the region have been sporadic; (b) results often take days to weeks to process; (c) the case totals provided by the Texas Department of State Health Services often contain unexplained day-to-day fluctuations; (d) health officials have warned of testing and data issues across the United States, including undercountings of cases; and (e) local officials like Presidio County Health Authority Dr. John Paul “J.P.” Schwartz have expressed concerns about the accuracy of local numbers. For those who are interested in latest DSHS figures for the tri-county, that data is available here. We cannot vouch for these state numbers and encourage readers to treat them with skepticism.

UPDATED 3/5 4:23 p.m.

(3/5 4:23 p.m.)
Coronavirus testing will be back in the tri-county again next week. The times and locations are:

Tuesday, March 9, in Marathon at the Marathon Community Center at 109 North East 2nd Street

Wednesday, March 10, in Terlingua at the J.W. “Red” Patillo South Brewster Community Center at 100 TX 118

Thursday, March 11, in Presidio at the Presidio Fire Dept. at 100 East FM 170

Friday, March 12, in Marfa at the Presidio County Courthouse at 300 Highland Street

The sites will run from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. or until testing capacity is reached. ID is required. Appointments are preferred but not required. Preregistration can be made online at https://docshealthtesting.com or by texting “DOCSTX” to 41411. These will be saliva tests.


The latest testing data from the Texas Department of State Health Services and Sul Ross State University:

Location

Confirmed+Probable

Active

Recovered

Deaths

Presidio County

595+103 67

609

22

Brewster County

773+63 0

931

8

Jeff Davis County

112+25 21 115

1

Sul Ross State University

351 12 339 0

*Sul Ross and Brewster data may share some overlap but officials are unable to provide definitive delineations between the data at this time. Not all Sul Ross cases are being counted in Brewster County because of students providing permanent addresses rather than school addresses.

At least 37,288 Texans have died from the virus and 2,120,299 have tested positive for COVID-19.

Nearby counties’ *active* case counts:
El Paso: 35,585
Hudspeth: 38
Culberson: 35
Reeves: 81
Pecos: 64
Terrell: 9
Crane: 0
Ector: 1,593
Midland: 2,714

Ector County health officials recently said they no longer had the resources to share local COVID-19 data. It’s not yet clear if or how this announcement is affecting state numbers for Ector County.


From the Governor: Texans are expected to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when inside a commercial entity, building or space open to the public, and in outdoor spaces where maintaining 6 feet of distance from others is not possible.


Here’s what else we know. You can also use the links below to skip to the relevant section:

Testing

Vaccines

Information from local, state and federal authorities

Schools, businesses, churches and non-governmental institutions

Precautions and staying safe


TESTING

Tuesday, March 9, in Marathon at the Marathon Community Center at 109 North East 2nd Street

Wednesday, March 10, in Terlingua at the J.W. “Red” Patillo South Brewster Community Center at 100 TX 118

Thursday, March 11, in Presidio at the Presidio Fire Dept. at 100 East FM 170

Friday, March 12, in Marfa at the Presidio County Courthouse at 300 Highland Street

Like the other sites in the tri-county, this one will run from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. or until testing capacity is reached. ID is required. Appointments are preferred but not required. Preregistration can be made online at https://docshealthtesting.com or by texting “DOCSTX” to 41411. Officials ask that residents please not eat, drink or use mouthwash or tobacco within 30 minutes of being tested.


VACCINES

How to get in line for a COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccines are available through a variety of places now, for those frontline healthcare workers, those over 65 and those over 16 with certain chronic illnesses. Below are resources to sign up for a vaccine appointment, or to get on a waitlist to be called when appointments are available.

  • Vaccines at the Monday event in Fort Davis are first come, first served at the Fort Davis Fire Station, 200 Court Ave. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or until they run out.
  • To sign up for the Tuesday event in Marfa, call the Marfa Clinic at 432-729-3000.
  • To get on a waitlist at Big Bend Regional Medical Center in Alpine, call 432-837-0430.
  • To sign up with Preventative Care Health Services (with clinics in Alpine, Marfa and Presidio), call 432-837-4812.
  • To get on the Department of State Health Services’ wait list, fill out the form at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LXX7S6V.

To sign up for a vaccine appointment in the city of Pecos, visit https://www.reevescountyhospital.com/ and click “sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine” at the top of the page.


INFORMATION FROM LOCAL, STATE AND FEDERAL AUTHORITIES
Local

State

Federal


SCHOOLS, BUSINESSES, CHURCHES AND NON-GOVERNMENTAL INSTITUTIONS

(11/15 4:03 p.m.)
Today, Marfa ISD Superintendent Oscar Aguero announced via an email to students, staff and parents that Marfa schools will go remote-only through November 20 and resume in-person on Monday, November 30 after the Thanksgiving holiday. Aguero cited the current positive COVID-19 cases, the testing positivity percentage and the requirement for “many students and staff members to quarantine” as reasons for the closure.

(11/12 10:44 a.m.)
Citing “our current positive COVID-19 cases, the testing positivity percentage and the requirement for many students and staff members to quarantine,” Alpine ISD has announced that they will switch back to all-virtual learning from today, Thursday, November 12, until after Thanksgiving, on Monday, November 30. Separately, Sul Ross State University today is reporting 32 new active cases on campus, including 25 new active cases among students and seven among staff and faculty.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Marfa is live-streaming their 10 a.m. Sunday worship service on their Facebook page and is offering Zoom classes. Those who need errands run on their behalf can contact the church. The church itself is open 24 hours and is accepting food donations for the Marfa Food Pantry. Call Vicar Mike Wallens at 214-862-7292 or email stpaulsmarfatx@gmail.com.

Pastor Ernesto Zubia at Iglesia Cristiana Jesus es Rey church in Marfa is asking churchgoers to stay home if they don’t feel well.

In a statement, the Family Crisis Center of the Big Bend said it will continue to provide resources to domestic-violence and assault survivors during the coronavirus crisis and asks that people please call ahead to make an appointment. The numbers for assistance and appointments are 432-837-7254 for Alpine, 432-229-4297 for Presidio and 432-371-3147 for Terlingua. The group’s emergency hotline is also available 24/7 at 1-800-834-8256.


PRECAUTIONS AND STAYING SAFE
Local health authorities are still advising that people keep six feet of “social distancing” between individuals who are not from the same household.

For individuals who worry they might have been exposed to coronavirus, health officials ask that people contact hospitals and doctors by phone rather than visiting in person. Health care providers will evaluate on a case-by-case basis whether individuals should come in for care. Preventative Care Health Services clinics have separate entrances for anyone suspected of having the virus.

Check our homepage for the latest in depth reporting on the virus and our local community.


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