Area COVID-19 Numbers Update

Houston, Anderson County Continue to Climb

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

EAST TEXAS – During the month of May and the first half of June, it appeared the curve of COVID-19 cases had started to flatten. The number of positive cases had started to drop and the state of Texas appeared to be returning to a semblance of normalcy. Protests against racial injustice moved other news items to the back pages, however, the spread of COVID-19 had not magically gone away. 

Two weeks ago, Gov. Greg Abbott pushed pause on the Texas re-opening.  Elective surgeries in counties like Harris, Dallas, Travis and Bexar were put on hold. Bars were closed once again and restaurants were back to only serving at 50 percent of their capacity. Tubing and rafting businesses were shut down and outside gatherings of 100 or more required governmental authorization.

On Thursday, July 2, Abbott issued an executive order which stated, “Every person in Texas shall wear a face covering over the nose and mouth when inside a commercial entity or other building or space open to the public, or when in an outdoor public space, wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household.”

From June 23 until July 7, the number of reported new cases of COVID-19 has stayed above the 5,000 mark on 13 of the 15 days. The Fourth of July also saw a single-day record of 8,258 cases reported. 

Houston and Anderson Counties are no exceptions as both counties saw downturns in the number of confirmed cases during the latter part of May and the early part of June. Unfortunately – just like the rest of the state – those numbers are starting to climb once again. 

The latest report received from Houston County Emergency Management Coordinator Roger Dickey on July 7 indicated there were 34 active cases in Houston County with zero active cases at the Eastham Prison Unit. On July 3, there were 28 active cases in Houston County with 0 active cases at Eastham.

In addition to the 34 active cases, Dickey reported 54 people had recovered from the virus for a total of 88 reported cases. Prison officials have reported a total of 104 recoveries.  

Dickey also provided a breakdown as to where the cases in Houston County were located as of July 2. He reported there were 10 confirmed cases in the city of Crockett, with one more in the Crockett area.

The city of Grapeland has four confirmed cases, with five more in the Grapeland area. Dickey also reported there were five case in Austonio, one case in Kennard and three in the Kennard area, two cases in Lovelady and one case in Lovelady and two cases in the Weldon area.  

There has also been one death in Houston County believed to have been caused by COVID-19.

Moving to Anderson County, Interim Emergency Management Coordinator Mendi Chambers reported on Monday, July 6, “Judge Robert Johnston has received notification today of one (1) new confirmed case(s). Over the weekend six (6) new cases were reported. This brings the total number of cases to one hundred sixty-five (165) positive cases in Anderson County. There are currently ninety-four (94) reported recovered cases, so we currently have seventy-one (71) active cases in Anderson County.”

The Northeast Texas Public Health District (NET Health) reported on Monday, July 6, of 165 total cases in Anderson County, 134 were in the city of Palestine while 11 confirmed cases were in Elkhart.  Frankston has nine, Tennessee Colony now has six, Montalba has three cases and 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 85 males and 79 females who had tested positive. Age wise, there were 16 cases reported for those between 0 and 20 years-of-age. There were 66 cases for those between 21 and 40 years-of-age. The 41-59 age group had 59 cases and the 60-79 age group had 20 confirmed cases. The 80 and above age group now has three 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 [email protected].   

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