More than 50 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have now been diagnosed in Burnet County in the past three months — including at least one confirmed fatality.
To help determine the extent that COVID-19 may have been spread in Burnet County, the Burnet Fire Department is hosting COVID-19 antibody testing, which would allow residents to determine if they have previously been exposed to the novel coronavirus.
The Department of State Health Services reported 54 people now have tested positive for active COVID-19 infection in Burnet County, up seven from the 47 previously reported. The new cases include what is now a fifth case among patients at the Bertram Nursing Home & Rehabilitation Center, where at least one 57-year-old female resident who died May 26 was posthumously found to have been positive for the virus.
DSHS personnel have been on site at the facility to conduct contact tracing and additional testing of patients and staff to determine how many may have contracted the illness, while also trying to determine the origin of the virus at the nursing facility. Contact tracing is part of the process of supporting patients and warning contacts of exposure in order to stop chains of transmission.
Two other new cases in Burnet County are a male in his 60s and a female in her 50s from a home in Burnet, where another individual previously tested positive, and another new case is a 50-year-old male in Marble Falls who lives in a residence where there have been several existing cases as well.
There are currently 22 active cases listed in Burnet County, while 31 individuals are listed as having recovered.
A total of 1,179 individuals have been tested for COVID-19 in Burnet County, according to the DSHS. Meanwhile, Llano County remains at just three confirmed cases, all recovered, and a total of 720 individuals tested.
Statewide, there have been 1,830 COVID-19 fatalities as well as 74,978 positive cases reported as COVID-19 cases are found in 235 of Texas’ 254 counties. There are 49,758 patients are estimated to have recovered from the illness, leaving 23,390 estimated active cases. A total of 1,255,899 people have been tested statewide, including viral and antibody testing.
Antibody testing at the Burnet Fire Department requires a blood draw and is by appointment only. The cost of the test is $42 and can be billed to insurance. Residents must call 512-756-2662, ext. 0, between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to schedule a test and must present their driver’s license and medical insurance card. The City of Burnet is not responsible for the cost of testing.
The antibody test checks for immunoglobulin G (IgG) that is the result of past or recent exposure to COVID-19, also known as the novel coronavirus. However, this is not a test for an active infection.
The human body produces IgG antibodies as part of the immune response to the virus. It usually takes around 10 days to start producing enough antibodies to be detected in the blood. However, in some people it may take several weeks.
Test results may help identify if an individual was previously exposed to the virus and, if exposed, can check whether or not their body has produced antibodies. Currently, the FDA supports antibody testing as having a critical role in the fight against COVID-19 because they may identify who may have been exposed to SARSCoV-2, the virus that causes the COVID-19 infection, and potentially developed an immune response.
Personnel from Ascension Seton Highland Lakes, in conjunction with Burnet city and county officials, are continuing to conduct nasal-swab COVID-19 testing at the Burnet County Fairgrounds each Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon. However, that testing will not be done without an order from a primary care physician or a virtual appointment through Ascension Seton Highland Lakes.