A Stephenville resident is currently in ICU battling for their life after contracting COVID-19 from an asymptomatic relative.
The patient, who is in their 50s, tested positive for the virus and was isolating at home before they started to get worse with symptoms of coughing and shorter breathing.
Local public health authority Dr. Kelly Doggett advised the patient to go to the hospital and the patient was admitted to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth.
"They went from being in observation to admitted to the floor to the ICU in a matter of hours," Doggett said. "The patient is on high flow oxygen and having trouble maintaining oxygen levels. They are very ill; the condition is very serious and it’s touch-and-go. I tell people that’s why we wear masks."
Doggett stresses that the reason individuals need to wear masks is not to protect themselves, but to prevent others from catching the virus.
"One of our county commissioners commented, ‘If you’re worried about catching COVID, wear a mask.’ That's not why we wear masks. We wear a mask because COVID is largely spread through respiratory droplets," he said. "The reason I wear a mask when I go to Allsups, H-E-B, it’s not because I'm afraid I'm gonna catch COVID; it’s because I may have COVID and me wearing a mask, it decreases the respiratory droplets. There’s much less of a chance of me spreading it if I'm wearing a mask."
Doggett said he has seen studies from UT Southwestern stating that if everyone wore masks, there would "essentially be no more COVID in north Texas by November."
"If we can put this to bed by November, I can’t see why any reasonable person wouldn’t make the sacrifice and wear the mask. It doesn’t take much," he said.
He also wants the county to realize that it’s possible to not have any symptoms of the virus and still be contagious.
"We tested over 240 people at Cornerstone Monday so I'll be anxious to see how many of those come back positive," Doggett said.
He said it is now up to county officials to act and protect the community.
"Some of the commissioners have said the county is not in the business of making them wear masks. I differ. I think the county leadership responsibility is to protect the citizens and they should require us to wear masks just like Dallas County. I think it will be a matter of time before we’re wearing masks whether it be by the county, the state or on a federal level," Doggett said. "People need to realize why they’re doing it, not be offended, not to think that we’re infringing upon their freedoms and their rights to do as they please; it’s to protect the rest of us."
"People have no idea how bad it will be," he added.
As of Monday, June 29, Erath County has 143 total positive cases of the coronavirus and 112 active cases, with eight hospitalizations.