Virus Outbreak

In this Aug. 17 file photo, nursing coordinator Beth Springer looks into a patient’s room in a COVID-19 ward at the Willis-Knighton Medical Center in Shreveport, La. A decline in COVID-19 cases in the United States over the last several weeks has given overwhelmed hospitals some relief, but administrators are bracing for yet another possible surge as cold weather drives people indoors.

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Gregg County plummeted 26%, and community spread levels decreased significantly, sending the county into “minimal” spread, according to Monday’s bi-weekly update from the Northeast Texas Public Health District.

Gregg County’s community spread level decreased to 8.87 Monday, well in between minimal community spread levels of the virus, which consists of a rate of between zero and 10.

Minimal community spread indicates evidence of isolated cases or limited community transmission, that cases are underway and that there is no evidence of exposure in large, congregate settings.

NET Health reported 29 total new cases of COVID-19 in the county since Thursday’s report and a drop in overall active cases in the county. Total active cases in the county fell from 506 on Thursday to 374 Monday. Data gathered in Monday’s report represents the past 96 hours, from noon Thursday to noon Monday.

Community spread levels of the virus on Monday sent Gregg County into minimal spread and a significant decline in Smith County. About a month ago, the week ending Sept. 23, each of the counties had levels of community spread that were substantial — or 35 or more new cases per week adjusted for population.

According to NET Health, there were 98 East Texans being treated for COVID-19 at Tyler hospitals on Monday. The last time Smith County saw a similarly low local hospitalization rate was in August. Monday’s data is 74% lower than the high hospitalization rate of 389, which was reached just two months ago in Tyler.

On Monday, there were 188 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the state’s 19-county Trauma Region G, approximately 19 fewer than there were on Thursday. Of COVID patients hospitalized, 87 of those are in ICUs and 65 patients are on ventilators. In early September, hospitalizations reached 822, the highest number of single-day COVID-19 hospitalizations in the region since the pandemic began.

In Gregg County, 51.23% of people 12 and older were fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 on Monday, according to the state. On Monday, 79.41% of Gregg County residents 65 and older had been fully vaccinated.

 
 

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Bilingual Multimedia Journalist

I cover COVID-19 and health in the East Texas area for Tyler Morning Telegraph, the Longview News-Journal and Tyler Paper Español. Stephen F. Austin State University alumna. For story ideas, email me at rtorres@tylerpaper.com.