The Reagan County Care Center has six residents who tested positive for COVID-19.

Reagan Hospital District CEO Jonathon Voelkel confirmed the first positive case at the Care Center to the Wildcat on Monday.

He confirmed the other five Thursday morning.

"The good news is all six of those residents are doing well and are in stable condition," Voelkel said. "We are following FEMA and HHS guidelines as we navigate this situation. We have set up zones within the Care Center to mitigate the spread of the virus to other residents."

Voelkel said the testing was conducted on the residents after they began showing signs and symptoms of the virus.

"We do plan on conducting another round of full-scale testing at the facility," Voelkel said. "We ordered over 100 swab kits to be able to handle that level of testing. We received those late yesterday evening and have begun testing all residents and staff."

Along with the six positive cases, Voelkel said there are other residents who were tested and are waiting on their results.

Voelkel said, as best practice, the district waits 24 hours following a positive result at the Care Center before they will confirm that case to the Wildcat.

"We work hard to make sure the families of these residents are notified in an appropriate way first," Voelkel said. "Not only the family of the resident who tests positive, but also the other families as well. Our first duty is to them, and we want to make sure that dialogue is open. After that 24-hour period we are able to confirm the results. We not only want to be transparent with our residents and their families, but also the community."

Voelkel said the staff at Reagan Hospital District, specifically those at the Care Center, have worked non-stop to care for the residents since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Those residents are their family," Voelkel said. "The staff at the Care Center has been diligent in their work to protect them. This virus a particularly pernicious and contagious bug. We are continuing to be aggressive on the fundamentals of hand washing, wearing appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment), and implementing social distancing."

There are a total of 32 residents at the Care Center. The facility has a capacity of 42.

"We have been blessed with the extra space in the facility during all of this," Voelkel said. "It has allowed us to be flexible, especially now that we have positive cases, in how we zone our residents."

The State's official count of total positive cases of COVID-19 for Reagan County stood at 15 as of 4:45 p.m. Wednesday evening.

Those figures typically lag behind the actual results seen at the local level.

Reagan Hospital District provided the Wildcat with their most up-to-date testing figures at round 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

Those figures show a total of 24 positive COVID-19 results here locally (administered by RHD).

Two of those have been attributed to Glasscock and Pecos Counties.

The rest are Reagan County residents.

Of the local positives, six of those have been Care Center employees (two in May who have recovered, and four in early July).

Of the most recent four, three of those employees were in a direct patient-care roles with the facility.

RHD has conducted a total of 363 tests since the beginning of the pandemic. 301 of those have returned as negative, 24 were positive and 38 are pending as of late yesterday evening.

A demographic breakdown of the positive cases show 71 percent are Hispanic while 29 are White, and 79 percent are female to 21 percent male.

There have also been positive cases attributed to Reagan County through testing in Tom Green County.

With all of those factors taken into consideration, Reagan County will likely see a large jump in the State's official figure for the county in the coming days.

The county stood at two cases for roughly a month before jumping to 15 over the last week.

"We are stressing that everyone in the community take this seriously," Voelkel said. "Please follow all guidelines that are applicable to you. Wear a mask in public, wash your hands regularly, and maintain social distancing at all times."

Reagan County Judge Jim O'Bryan, who decided against opting Reagan County out of Governor Abbott's face-covering mandate on Monday, echoed those same sentiments.

"We have to come together as a community to reverse this trend," O'Bryan said. "Employers have to be diligent when it comes to screening their employees, and people must take on the responsibility individually to follow the guidelines. If we work together, we can take Big Lake and Reagan County back to being a cold spot on the map for COVID-19."