Houston County Cases Up, Anderson County Down
By Will Johnson
EAST TEXAS – The numbers are starting to climb once again. While some say COVID-19 is a hoax, over 210,000 dead Americans seem to indicate otherwise. Of these 210,000 dead Americans – by Oct.6 – the Texas Department of State Health Services (TxDSHS) reported over 16,000 Texans had suffered a COVID-19 related death.
Over three 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.”
Those measures appeared to be working. Since the start of September, the number of newly reported cases of COVID-19 has stayed below the 4,000 mark on all but two days. However, the number of newly reported cases topped the 5,000 mark on Sept. 30 – the first time since Aug. 27.
Houston County cases spiked in the early part of the summer, but as autumn began, the numbers started to fall. This week, unfortunately, saw an increase for the first time in 17 days.
The latest report received from Houston County Emergency Management Coordinator Roger Dickey, received on Oct.6, indicated there were 13 active cases in Houston County with no active cases at the Eastham Prison Unit. Last week, there were eight active cases as well as no active cases at the prison facility.
In addition to the 13 active cases this week, Dickey reported 238 people had recovered from the virus while the number of deaths in Houston County attributed to COVID-19 remained at five.
Dickey also provided a breakdown as to where the cases in Houston County were located as of Oct. 6. He reported there was one case in the Austonio area, three confirmed cases in the city of Crockett and one case in the Grapeland area.
The city of Kennard has one confirmed case along with one in the Kennard area. There is also one case in Latexo, one in the Lovelady area, one in the Pennington area, two in the Weches area and one in the Weldon area.
Moving to Anderson County, the numbers just keep climbing. Palestine Police Department PIO/Community Liaison Michele Herbert reported on Tuesday, Oct. 6 that Anderson County Judge Robert Johnston had received notification of 26 new and probable cases of COVID-19, as well as two deaths.
This brought the total of active cases up to 568. Last week on Sept. 29, there were 604 active cases. There have also been 546 reported recoveries and 23 deaths in Anderson County.
The Northeast Texas Public Health District (NET Health) reported on Monday, Sept. 28, of the 1,111 confirmed and probable total reported cases in Anderson County, 731 were in the city of Palestine while 74 confirmed cases were in Elkhart. Frankston has 38, Tennessee Colony now has 34, Montalba has 15 cases, Neches has two and Cayuga has two. These numbers do not include recoveries.
There have now been 19 COVID-19 related deaths in Palestine, one in Elkhart and one in Frankston. The locations of the two most recent deaths have been made available as of press time.
NET Health also reported gender and age breakdowns for the number of confirmed cases indicating there were 391 males and 514 females who had tested positive. Age wise, there were 130 cases reported for those between 0 and 20 years-of-age. There were 341 cases for those between 21 and 40 years-of-age. The 41-59 age group had 366 cases and the 60-79 age group had 172 confirmed cases. The 80 and above age group now has 89 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 email@example.com.