COVID-19 coverage graphic

New confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Gregg County increased again Friday by double digits as additional confirmed recoveries approached 100.

Regional health organization the Northeast Texas Public Health District, known as NET Health, reported 39 new confirmed cases of coronavirus in Gregg County residents and 98 newly reported recoveries.

The county’s cumulative confirmed case count reached 3,109, with confirmed recoveries at 2,419.

Confirmed deaths in the county remained at 65, a day after the health district announced four additional confirmed deaths related to the coronavirus.

On Friday, there were 625 confirmed active cases in the county and three Gregg County Jail inmates with active cases.

Harrison County Judge Chad Sims on Friday announced four new cases in his county for the second day in a row.

The county has had 1,211 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Recoveries and deaths from the virus on Friday remained at 1,067 and 35, respectively, leaving 109 confirmed active cases in the county.

In Smith County, NET Health reported 73 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 157 new confirmed recoveries in county residents. The county has had 5,677 total confirmed cases and 3,967 recoveries.

The health district on Friday reported one additional confirmed virus-related death for a total of 130.

The number of patients with confirmed or probable COVID-19 being treated Friday in Tyler hospitals was 195 up from 193 on Thursday.

A case is considered probable if it returns a positive result in a rapid test that is not then laboratory confirmed.

The state on Friday reported 17 new cases of the coronavirus in Rusk County and one additional death. The county has had 1,161 positive cases, according to the state, and 30 COVID-19 deaths.

Upshur County’s coronavirus cases increased by seven from the previous day for a cumulative total of 587, and the county’s deaths increased by two to 19.

Statewide

Texas surpassed 8,000 hospitalized coronavirus patients Friday for the first time since a deadly summer surge as doctors amplified pleas to keep Thanksgiving gatherings small.

The worsening surge of cases has El Paso County — where the pandemic is blamed for more than 300 deaths since October — now searching for prospective morgue workers. County leaders are offering $27 an hour for work they describe as not only physically arduous but “emotionally taxing as well.”

The job posting comes as El Paso is already paying jail inmates to move bodies and has 10 refrigerated trucks as morgues began to overflow.

Texas reported more than 11,700 new cases Friday, the second-highest daily total of the pandemic. More than 8,100 virus patients are hospitalized, the most since early August.

The Texas Hospital Association, the industry group representing more than 500 hospitals, issued a new appeal for families to keep holiday gatherings “very small” as doctors and nurses struggle to keep up with rising caseloads.

”They are tired and emotionally drained. They are worried about their own families," the organization said in a statement.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has ruled out another shutdown and accused local leaders of not enforcing restrictions already in place.

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