Montgomery County reports all-time high number of COVID cases

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Montgomery County Public Health is reporting new all-time high numbers in active COVID-19 cases, ICU patients with the virus, and COVID cases in children.

"It's pandemic proportions," said Dr. Casey Patrick, the Assistant Medical Director of the Montgomery County Hospital District. "It's serious, and it's as straining on the health care system as it's been at any point."

Montgomery ISD is also at the top of the list of Houston-area schools when it comes to number of active cases per 1,000 students.

Our 13 Investigates COVID case tracker shows Montgomery ISD has 46.4 cases per 1,000 students.

Conroe ISD has 21 cases per 1,000 students and New Caney ISD has 25.9. This data is based on school district dashboards.



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ABC13 asked Montgomery ISD Superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison about the measures that are being taken to help slow down the spread of the virus.

"Whether it's the rapid testing, additional support through our nurses or the extended COVID leave, we are going to find a way to get those things done for our employees and our community," said Morrison.

Morrison said the rapid testing and 10 days of paid COVID leave for employees who test positive - or if one of their family members does - is put in place to keep people from coming to school sick.

"I am not going to do things that make it more challenging to report," he said. "I am not going to stop doing rapid testing. The data will speak for itself and then we have to be honest with that data and we have to be transparent with the data."

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Patrick said schools are the perfect breeding ground for COVID and masks would help.

"It's indoor, prolonged periods, it's shared air and it's difficult to socially distance when you've got 25, 30, 35 in a classroom, so it's really the spot where masks definitely could play a role in mitigation," said Patrick.

Masks remain optional in Montgomery County ISD.

"As I visited schools the last several days, I have certainly noticed an uptick of our employees and students wearing them and that's a good sign. So again, masks are optional and would we re-evaluate it, again, everything is subject to change," said Morrison.

In Houston-area schools, data shows there are 6.8 COVID cases per 1,000 students in districts with mask mandates and nearly double the amount of cases per 1,000 students in districts without mask mandates.



Patrick said he does not think a mask mandate is necessary, but is encouraging the community to step up for the common good.

"As opposed to saying, 'You have to do this' from a draconian stance, and more so, 'Hey, if I can prevent one transmission of this disease, you tell me how I can do it,'" said Patrick.

Patrick is also encouraging people to get vaccinated, including children who are old enough.

Currently, nearly 53% of the eligible population of Montgomery County is fully vaccinated.
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