Sterile swab stick tests for COVID-19 nCoV-2 Coronavirus

Sterile swab stick tests for COVID-19 nCoV-2 Coronavirus on the table

ANGLETON — The COVID-19 rapid testing kits announced by the Texas Education Agency are filtering down to more school districts across the state, including Angleton ISD.

“TEA has given Angleton ISD a little over 1,000 rapid tests,” Superintendent Phil Edwards said Thursday during a virtual luncheon with the Greater Angleton Chamber of Commerce. “It’s the Abbott (BinaxNOW) test, which is one of seven FDA-approved rapid tests.”

According to an Abbott news release from August, when the pharmaceutical company announced the product, the test produces results within 15 minutes with no instrumentation. It also comes along with a free phone app that lets people display their BinaxNOW test results when asked to by organizations like businesses and schools.

The district is looking to administer the test to students and staff who are symptomatic and have insurance issues or other troubles in affording and obtaining testing, Edwards said. Angleton ISD nurses are to give the test in school clinics. He added that overall, the district’s spent around $3 million on COVID management thus far. There were 14 active cases in the district as of Thursday.

“We had been operating for about the last three months seeing very little COVID cases in the school district,” Edwards said. “In the last week or so, after Halloween, we’ve seen a slight spike, just like everyone else in the state, everybody else in the nation. It is not anything that is predominant right now. We were averaging about two to three cases a week until about last week, and now, this week, we’re up to about 10 or 12 per week.”

Two positives aspects, Edwards said, were the infections were not happening on campus, and efforts to take full advantage of technological opportunities will serve the district’s students after worry over the virus passes.

“We’re going to grow coming out of this,” Edwards said. “The increased investment we’ve made in technology, providing hotspots for every one of our students who need those to be at home, providing Chromebooks for every student in the district, how we go about communicating with students, and even among ourselves in how we provide education to our kids has changed dramatically.”

Brazoria County’s daily COVID report showed 55 new cases Thursday and 34 recoveries, four probable cases and two cases transferred out of the county. Also included in the cases is one of a resident from The Medical Resort in Pearland.

Alvin led all municipalities with 11 cases, followed by Pearland with nine, Danbury with six, five each for Angleton, Freeport and Lake Jackson, three from Manvel, two each from Clute and Sweeny, and one each from Iowa Colony and Jones Creek.

Among the age groups, there were eight cases among those in their 60s, seven each among those aged 10-19 and in their 30s, six each for those in their 20s and 50s, five each for children 9 years and younger and people in their 40s, four cases among those in their 80s and three among people in their 70s.

There have been 12,352 cases in the county, of which 952 remain active.

The new infections announced daily are from tests taken at least several days previously. On average, it takes two to four days for labs to return results, but some tests could take longer before the findings are reported to the county.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.

Wes Wolfe is a reporter for The Facts. Contact him at 979-237-0152.

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