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Lamar Co. cases surge, health department says contact tracing for COVID-19 no longer possible

Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 10:36 PM CST
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LAMAR COUNTY, Texas (KXII) -

The Paris-Lamar County Health District says it no longer has the “capability, staff or resources” to contact trace COVID-19, but will continue administering tests.

“They’re going to keep a track of the total number of cases, the total number of deaths in Lamar County, more generic things like that but as far as an attempt to do contact tracing it’s just logistically impossible at this point,” said Paris Mayor Steve Clifford.

Clifford said he was surprised the health department was able to keep up their contact tracing efforts for as long as they did.

“We’re having pretty rampant community spread,” Clifford said. “Really I wish people would take more precautions with masks and social distancing. That’s really what we need to do because this is going to run through the community.”

Lamar County currently has 218 active cases of COVID-19 and 65 people have died from the virus.

“It’s effected our entire family,” said Britney Drake who’s in-laws both contracted the virus even after being quarantined for 14 days. “My father in-law is still in the hospital, today was 23 days that he’s been there.”

Her father in-law was on a ventilator and was given a trachea and feeding tube.

“They are telling us he’s over the COVID but because of the damage that it did to his lungs and pre-existing illnesses he is having to stay on the ventilator to give him more strength and extra pushes to be able to breathe,” Drake said.

Drake said she’s not surprised about the numbers in her community and she continues to follow COVID-19 guidelines. Even as the case count continues to grow her faith hasn’t wavered.

“I have a six year old little boy and I don’t want him to live in fear,” Drake said. “I want him to know that there is a god that we serve that is the master healer and if we keep our faith in him I know he’s going to take care of us.”

Clifford said the whole community needs to come together to slow the spread, or risk overrunning their hospital system.

“We were getting close to capacity here in Paris,” Clifford said. “We could very well reach a point where our hospital capacity is overwhelmed and people who need hospital care for things other than COVID may not have a bed.’

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