Cases Start to Level Off
By Will Johnson
EAST TEXAS – While some say COVID-19 is a hoax, nearly 185,000 dead Americans seem to indicate otherwise. Furthermore, by Sept. 1, the Texas Department of State Health Services (TxDSHS) reported more than 12,600 Texans had suffered a COVID-19 related death.
Nearly two months 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.”
Perhaps these measures are starting to work. From Aug. 20 until Sept. 1, the number of newly reported cases of COVID-19 has stayed below the 5,000 mark on 10 of the 13 days.
Houston County cases spiked in the early part of the summer, but as August enters its final week, the numbers are starting to fall
The latest report received from Houston County Emergency Management Coordinator Roger Dickey, received on Sept. 1, indicated there were 24 active cases in Houston County with one active case at the Eastham Prison Unit. Last week, there were 16 cases and four cases at the prison facility.
In addition to the 24 active cases this week, Dickey reported 171 people had recovered from the virus while the number of deaths in Houston County attributed to COVID-19 has held steady at four.
Dickey also provided a breakdown as to where the cases in Houston County were located as of Sept. 1. He reported there were 14 confirmed cases in the city of Crockett, with one more in the Crockett area.
The city of Grapeland has one confirmed case and one in the Grapeland area. There is also one case in Kennard, two in the Kennard area, one case in Lovelady, two cases in the Lovelady area and one case in the Porter Springs area.
Moving to Anderson County, Palestine Communications Officer Scott Fifer reported on Tuesday, Sept. 1 Judge Robert Johnston had received notification of seven new cases of COVID-19 in Anderson County. This brought the total of active cases up to 448. Last week on Aug. 24, there were 434 active cases. There have also been 339 reported recoveries and 12 deaths in Anderson County
The Northeast Texas Public Health District (NET Health) reported on Monday, Aug. 31, of the 792 confirmed and probable total reported cases in Anderson County – at that time – 554 were in the city of Palestine while 58 confirmed cases were in Elkhart. Frankston has 35, Tennessee Colony now has 25, Montalba has 12 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 302 males and 391 females who had tested positive. Age wise, there were 82 cases reported for those between 0 and 20 years-of-age. There were 263 cases for those between 21 and 40 years-of-age. The 41-59 age group had 284 cases and the 60-79 age group had 113 confirmed cases. The 80 and above age group now has 49 cases. These numbers do not include recoveries.
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.