Teacher Vaccines

Longview High School cosmetology teacher Sharon Smith receives her COVID-19 vaccine from certified medical assistant Marilu Garcia of Christus Mother Frances, on Sunday March 7, 2021, during a vaccine clinic at the Longview Exhibit Center. (Michael Cavazos/ News-Journal File Photo)

Gregg County saw its active COVID-19 cases fall 17% since Monday, according to data released Thursday from the Northeast Public Health District. 

NET Health reported a drop in overall active cases in the county, dropping from 192 on Monday to 159 Thursday. There were 18 total — seven confirmed and 11 probable — new cases of COVID-19 recorded in the county since Monday’s report. 

The county's community spread level, which is the second-lowest in NET Health's seven-county jurisdiction, increased from 4.72 Monday to 4.95 Thursday. Gregg County remains in the minimal spread level, which consists of a rate between zero and 10.

Additionally, after data showed all counties in NET Health's jurisdiction simultaneously reached minimal community spread levels of COVID-19 since early summer, Thursday's report shows Van Zandt County’s seven-day rolling rate of infection increased to 11.86 and sent the county into moderate spreads of the virus, breaking the seven-county’s simultaneous minimal spread record this year. In contrast, the county at the lowest spread levels of the virus is Rains County at 3.42.

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.

About a month ago in 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.

In Gregg County, 46.34% of people 5 and older were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 on Thursday, according to the state. On Thursday, 80.35% of Gregg County residents 65 and older had been fully vaccinated. As of Nov. 4, children 5 to 11 years of age are included in vaccination numbers and rates.

According to NET Health, there were 67 East Texans being treated for COVID-19 at Tyler hospitals on Thursday. The last time Smith County saw a similarly low local hospitalization rate was in August. Thursday’s data is 82% lower than the hospitalization rate of 389 reached two months ago in Tyler.

On Thursday, there were 97 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the state’s 19-county Trauma Region G, approximately nine fewer than there were on Monday. Of COVID patients hospitalized, 36 of those are in ICUs and 30 patients are on ventilators. In the first half of September, hospitalizations reached 822, the highest number of single-day COVID-19 hospitalizations in the region since the pandemic began.

Data gathered in Thursday’s report represents the past 72 hours, from noon Monday to noon Thursday.


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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.