JEFFERSON, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – Marion County Judge Leward LaFleur says “more details are being gathered” about how a local woman with a confirmed case of COVID-19 was not reported to the Texas Department of Health Services after learning about it through a social media post.
“I was notified, like many of you, through a Facebook post that we have had a recovered COVID-19 case in Marion County,” LaFleur said in a statement released Wednesday morning.
The post LaFleur is referring to was shared Tuesday by Marion County Constable Tashia Wilson and it said, “I BEAT THE CORONAVIRUS.” It has since been deleted, along with a follow-up post explaining why the case had not been reported in Marion County.
“I have always been under a doctors care in Louisiana. Then there’s HIPPA law. Mine was caught early on with fatigue and fever. I have diabetes and high blood pressure. Praise to my doctor and nurses at Willis Knighten as well as the lab that has been calling every day to make sure I am still improving.”
“I pray Constable Wilson is on the mend and that she hasn’t exposed anyone else by keeping this a secret,” LaFleur said in a post of his own on Facebook Tuesday night.
“We all need to pray for her and anyone she’s come into contact with! Our county has fought very hard to keep COVID-19 out of Marion County, I wish she would have reached out to us and asked for help because we would have rallied behind her!
It may have potentially saved lives and the wellness of others.”
In his statement Wednesday morning, LaFleur said he immediately contacted the Texas Department of Emergency Management and Texas Department of Health Services, “because neither my office nor the emergency management coordinator was notified.”
The judge told KTAL/KMSS that Texas officials opened an investigation regarding the reporting of results to them and reached out to health officials in Louisiana and this morning confirmed the case to Marion County.
“We have been relying on official numbers from Texas Department of Health Services throughout this crisis. Now that we have been notified that Marion County has a recovered case, further efforts will be made to determine the exposure and risk to other Marion County residents. I continue to pray for every person affected by this pandemic and it is my sincere hope that anyone who faces this virus doesn’t do so alone.”
In a follow-up statement Wednesday, LaFleur noted that “healthcare providers and epidemiologists will remain in contact with this confirmed individual, as well as with anyone that interacted with this individual if they believe they may be at risk of infection.”
Wednesday afternoon, LaFleur posted a video update on Facebook announcing two more cases have been confirmed to him by the state in Marion County.
“With this being the first day reporting cases in Marion County, I strongly urge you to not panic. Please do not panic. The Texas Department of Health Services are investigating. We’re waiting for a little bit more information. As soon as I get more information, I will pass it on to you.”
He also urged citizens to follow all CDC recommendations, such as washing hands and staying at home.
As of 12 p.m. Wednesday, there were still no cases reported by Texas DHS in Marion County on the state’s official COVID-19 dashboard.