GREGG COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - More than 2,600 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Texas on Tuesday. In Gregg County it’s been discovered many recent cases are asymptomatic — people who don’t feel sick.
KLTV 7’s Jamey Boyum spoke with Gregg County officials who were surprised to find out most of the cases in the Gregg County Jail, and many in the community aren’t showing symptoms.
Gregg County Health Authority Dr. Lewis Browne and Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt say many people may be walking around with the virus and may be spreading it because they don’t know they have COVID-19.
“It’s still out there and it certainly out there in what we called the asymptomatic carriers that’s one reason our numbers have bumped so much because of the people walking around who don’t know they have it,” Browne said.
Stoudt said there were nearly 40 cases of COVID-19 in jailers and inmates at the Gregg County North Jail, and most of them showed no signs of illness.
“No symptoms, no temperature, no respiratory distress. Just acting like you and me in terms of where their health was. And that’s one of the reasons we wanted to do the testing,” Stoudt said.
Brown said area nursing homes also contained some surprises in employees and residents.
“When we did the screening of the nursing homes there were quite a few people that were found in the nursing home that did not know they were sick,” Browne said.
Some can get over it without ever knowing they had it, but not all.
“They could potentially get ill it depends on when we caught them with the infection. Some of them got sick after they were screened but the rest of them did not even know they were that ill,” Browne said.
At the jail at least the tests will continue.
“And now we’re coming back and testing, retesting some of the inmates because they haven’t been tested in two weeks, to make sure that they don’t test positive still,” Stoudt said.
As far as how it got into any given facility is anyone’s guess.
“It’s not obviously going to go away anytime soon,” Browne said.
More of the first round of public testing results came in Tuesday. There were eight more cases from those tests. There have been no results that have returned on the more recent testing in Gregg County.