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Area COVID-19 Numbers Update

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Houston, Anderson County Rates Continue to Drop

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

EAST TEXAS – While protests against racial injustice moved other news items to the back pages, the spread of COVID-19 did not magically go away and is still a very real concern. 

With Phase III of the Texas re-opening well underway, people have come out of their homes, businesses have opened their doors to customers, the crowds are slowly coming back to restaurants and bars are pouring drinks for their clientele once again. 

Given that backdrop, one might think the pandemic has run its course. Unfortunately it hasn’t and since June 17, the number of reported new cases of COVID-19 has continued to stay above the 3,000 per day mark.  

Houston and Anderson Counties are exceptions as both counties have seen a downturn in the number of confirmed cases over the last two weeks.

The latest report received from Houston County Emergency Management Coordinator Roger Dickey on June 23 indicated there were 19 active cases in Houston County with zero active cases at the Eastham Prison Unit. Last week, there were 23 active cases in Houston County with another 12 active cases at Eastham.

In addition to the 19 active cases, Dickey reported 41 people had recovered from the virus for a total of 60 reported cases.

Prison officials have reported a total of 104 recoveries.  

On June 9, there were 32 active cases of COVID-19 in Houston County. On June 2, Dickey indicated there were 41 positive cases in Houston County. On May 26, there were 37 and on Tuesday, May 19, there were 35.

Dickey also provided a breakdown as to where the cases in Houston County were located as of June 23. He reported there were six confirmed cases in the city of Crockett, with one more in the Crockett area.

The city of Grapeland had three confirmed cases, with three more in the Grapeland area. Dickey also reported there were three cases in the Weldon area, one case in Austonio, one case in Latexo and one case in Lovelady.   

Moving to Anderson County, Interim Emergency Management Coordinator reported on Monday, June 22, “Judge Robert Johnston has received notification today of two new confirmed cases. This brings the total number of cases to 109 positive cases in Anderson County. There are currently 79 reported recovered cases, so we currently have 30 active cases in Anderson County.”

The Northeast Texas Public Health District (NET Health) reported on Monday, June 22 of the 109 total cases in Anderson County, 85 were in the city of Palestine while nine confirmed cases were in Elkhart.  Tennessee Colony now has six while Frankston has four. Montalba has three cases while Neches has two. These numbers do not include recoveries.

NET Health also reported gender and age breakdowns for the number of confirmed cases indicating there were 59 males and 50 females who had tested positive. Age wise, there were eight cases reported for those between 0 and 20 years-of-age. There were 44 cases for those between 21 and 40 years-of-age. The 41-59 age group had 46 cases and the 60-79 age group had 11 confirmed cases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Infected people have reported a wide range of symptoms from mild symptoms to severe illness. The CDC is stating that symptoms that may occur within two to fourteen days after exposure to COVID-19 now to include fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or loss of taste or smell. If you develop any of the following COVID-19 symptoms, please seek medical help immediately: trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, or ability to arouse, or blueish lips or face.

Individuals who have traveled recently, been exposed to someone who has traveled recently, or been exposed to someone with COVID-19 symptoms, please call to speak with a clinician who will provide telephonic triage and make appropriate referrals in accordance with CDC guidelines. Additionally, you may visit www.coronavirus.gov and take a “Coronavirus Self-Checker” assessment. This will help you communicate symptoms to your doctor when you call their office before making a visit. If you do not have access to a primary care physician, please dial “211” and select option 6.

Please be sure to call before going to a medical provider, to prevent any potential spread.

Residents are reminded to take the same measures that are recommended to prevent the spread of the flu and other respiratory viruses. Everyone in East Texas should remember to:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Practice social distancing – Avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay home if you believe you have symptoms.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze into the bend of your elbow or into a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects using cleaning items that contain bleach.
  • Follow all recommendations from your local health officials.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.   

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