By Chris Edwards
WOODVILLE – Tyler County Judge Jacques Blanchette found himself among the 13 million Americans who have been diagnosed with the coronavirus this year.
Blanchette received a positive result from a COVID-19 test administered on Friday, Nov. 28. He said he had begun feeling ill the day before Thanksgiving, and by Friday was very sick. He is currently staying confined at home. His wife, Leeza, had also fallen ill with the virus and is recuperating.
An update from the Tyler County Emergency Management Facebook page noted Blanchette’s announcement and that he appreciates the prayers and support from the public in his recovery.
As the pandemic has experienced a nationwide surge in the past month, the likelihood of infection has increased, and anyone is fair game for the virus.
Several other elected officials in the area have tested positive for the coronavirus. According to a recent story from KJAS out of Jasper, the Jasper ISD School Board President Mark Durand and the county’s Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Raymond Hopson were both diagnosed with the virus last week.
Hopson was elected to fill the seat held by Judge Jimmy Miller who died from coronavirus complications during the summer.
In Tyler County, the total number of confirmed cases has surpassed 300, and at press time is at 320. This number represents the total number of positive cases in the county since reporting began in late March with the first confirmed case.
Two recent deaths were also reported as COVID-related. Last week, Ruby Moore, of Warren, died from complications, and the week prior, Ethel McGough’s passing was linked to the virus.
Those two deaths brings the COVID death count to nine in the county.
In other COVID news, the county’s Emergency Management Coordinator Ken Jobe recently addressed the methodology for reporting the county’s number of cases and added reportage for the number of quick tests administered. Jobe said those cases are not listed by public health as active, but they are tracked, investigated and logged in the system as “probables.”
In addressing questions about the seeming lapse in reporting cases, Jobe said “The public health numbers and my numbers don’t always match,” which he attributed to a timing issue.
Additionally, the numbers from public health sources use the test date as the starting date for active cases, and then county 10 days and remove from active if they do not receive the result, Jobe said. Those cases are posted to the recovered category. “Several counties where we have residents go test are slow to get results to our public health group,” he said.