Virus Outbreak US Surge

Registered Nurse Kristina Shannon, from left, chaplain Andrea Cammarota, and Emergency Room charge nurse Cathy Carter watch as medical workers try to resuscitate a patient who tested positive for coronavirus Thursday in the emergency room at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles. The surge of coronavirus is taking an increasingly grim toll across the United States, even as of a vaccine appears close at hand.

Smith County’s community spread level of COVID-19 continued its slow decrease in Thursday’s bi-weekly update from the Northeast Texas Public Health District.

Smith County’s community spread level fell 13% since the last NET Health report on Monday. The county’s community spread now stands at 14.97, on the lower end of the “moderate” spread level.

Moderate community spread indicates sustained transmission with confirmed exposure within congregate settings and potential for a rapid increase in cases and occurs when the county sees from 10 to 35 new cases per day for seven consecutive days. Minimal community spread happens when there’s evidence of isolated cases or limited community transmission, case investigations underway and there is no evidence of exposure in large congregate settings and when the county sees zero to 10 new cases of the virus for seven consecutive days.

Wood, Van Zandt and Anderson counties remain in “moderate” community spread of the virus as of Thursday.

The level of community spread is determined by taking the average number of all COVID-19 positive cases from the previous seven days. That number is then divided by the population of the county and multiplied by 100,000.

Smith County saw 156 new total cases Thursday, with 71 new confirmed cases and 85 new probable cases. There are now 2,295 total active cases within the county.

According to NET Health, there were 150 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. Monday’s data is 61% lower than the high hospitalization rate of 389, which was reached just over a month ago in Tyler.

One Smith County jail inmate had an active diagnosis of COVID-19, according to NET Health. One inmate has died due to COVID-19.

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

On Thursday, there were 271 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the state’s 19-county Trauma Region G, approximately 39 fewer than there were on Monday. Of COVID patients hospitalized, 116 of those are in ICUs and 97 patients are on ventilators. Earlier in September, hospitalizations reached 822, the highest number of single-day COVID-19 hospitalizations in the region since the pandemic began.

In Smith County, 55.97% of people 12 and older had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 49.21% of people 12 and older had been fully vaccinated, according to the state.

State data shows 82.80% of people aged 65 and older in the county had been vaccinated with at least one dose on Thursday, while 76.45% of that population had been fully vaccinated.

Other Counties

Gregg County had 381 confirmed active cases and 480 probable active cases Thursday. Confirmed recoveries were at 8,500, while there were 9,550 probable recoveries, according to NET Health.

Henderson County had 271 confirmed active cases and 157 probable active cases, NET Health said. Confirmed recoveries were at 5,937, and there were 3,160 probable recoveries in the county, NET Health said.

Van Zandt County had 289 confirmed active cases and 276 probable active cases, NET Health said. Confirmed recoveries were at 4,294, and 2,972 people had likely recovered in Van Zandt County, NET Health reported.

Anderson County had 102 confirmed active cases and 195 probable active cases, NET Health said. Confirmed recoveries were at 2,424, and probable recoveries were at 2,726, the health district reported.

Wood County had 229 confirmed active cases and 248 probable active cases, NET Health said. Confirmed recoveries in Wood County were at 3,203, and there were 2,703 probable recoveries, NET Health said.

Rains County had 55 confirmed active and 61 probable active diagnoses, NET Health said. Confirmed recoveries were at 664, and there were 706 probable recoveries, according to NET Health.


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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