Houston County Down, Anderson County Up
By Will Johnson
EAST TEXAS – While some say COVID-19 is a hoax, nearly 160,000 dead Americans seem to indicate otherwise. On Aug. 1, the Texas Department of State Health Services (TxDSHS) reported more than 7,000 Texans have suffered a COVID-19 related death.
States that began to re-open in May are starting to close back down and Texas is very close to finding itself under stay-at-home orders, once again.
Over a month ago, Gov. Greg Abbott pushed pause on the Texas re-opening. Elective surgeries 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 July 1 until Aug. 3, the number of reported new cases of COVID-19 has stayed above the 7,000 mark on 25 of the 33 days. On July 15, the state of Texas saw a single-day record of 10,791 cases reported.
Houston and Anderson Counties are not exceptions as both counties have seen a sharp increase in the number of confirmed cases. While the two counties saw a decline during the latter part of May and the early part of June, as spring became summer and the temperatures began to rise, the number of confirmed cases has also started to climb.
The latest report received from Houston County Emergency Management Coordinator Roger Dickey on July 28 indicated there were 47 active cases in Houston County with 60 active cases at the Eastham Prison Unit. Last week, there were 56 cases and 13 cases at the prison facility. On July 3, there were 28 active cases in Houston County with 0 active cases at Eastham.
In addition to the 47 active cases this week, Dickey reported 109 people had recovered from the virus while there have now been four deaths in Houston County attributed to COVID-19.
Dickey also provided a breakdown as to where the cases in Houston County were located as of Aug. 4. He reported there were 20 confirmed cases in the city of Crockett, with four more in the Crockett area.
The city of Grapeland has five confirmed cases, with seven more in the Grapeland area. Dickey also reported there were five cases in the Kennard area, one case in Lovelady and three cases in the Lovelady area and two cases in the Weldon area.
Moving to Anderson County, Palestine Communications Officer Scott Fifer reported on Tuesday, Aug. 4, Judge Robert Johnston had received notification of 26 new cases of COVID-19 in Anderson County, bringing the total of active cases to 304. There have also been 199 reported recovered cases and four deaths in Anderson County
The Northeast Texas Public Health District (NET Health) reported on Monday, Aug. 3, of the 481 total cases – at that time – in Anderson County, 383 were in the city of Palestine while 35 confirmed cases were in Elkhart. Frankston has 28, Tennessee Colony now has 16, Montalba has 11 cases, Neches has two and Cayuga 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 217 males and 264 females who had tested positive. Age wise, there were 59 cases reported for those between 0 and 20 years-of-age. There were 171 cases for those between 21 and 40 years-of-age. The 41-59 age group had 175 cases and the 60-79 age group had 56 confirmed cases. The 80 and above age group now has 20 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:
- Wear a mask.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.