Houston County Cases Down, Anderson County Up
By Will Johnson
EAST TEXAS – The numbers are starting to climb once again. While some say COVID-19 is a hoax, over 215,000 dead Americans seem to indicate otherwise. Of these 215,000 dead Americans – by Oct. 13 – the Texas Department of State Health Services (TxDSHS) reported nearly 17,000 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. The first two weeks of October have also been promising as the numbers have stayed below the 4,000 level on all but one day.
Houston County cases spiked in the early part of the summer, but as autumn began, the numbers started to fall. While last week saw an increase for the first time in 17 days, this week the number of active cases is below 10.
The latest report received from Houston County Emergency Management Coordinator Roger Dickey, received on Oct. 13, indicated there were seven active cases in Houston County with one active case at the Eastham Prison Unit. Last week, there were 13 active cases with none at the prison facility.
In addition to the seven active cases this week, Dickey reported 252 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. 13. He reported there was one case in the city of Crockett and two cases in the city of Grapeland.
The city of Kennard has one confirmed case along with one in the Kennard area. There is also one case in Latexo and one in the Weches area.
“The Texas Department of State Health Services does not recognize and report some of the tests performed locally as ‘lab positive’, therefore we realize the numbers represented here may not be the total case count,” he said.
Moving to Anderson County, the numbers just keep climbing. On Tuesday, Oct. 12, Anderson County Judge Robert Johnston received notification of 41 new confirmed and probable cases since Friday, Oct. 9. That brings the total to 651 active cases of COVID-19 in Anderson County.
Last week on Oct. 6, there were 568 active cases. There have also been 546 reported recoveries and 23 deaths in Anderson County.
The Northeast Texas Health District reported on Monday, Oct. 12, of the 1,211 confirmed and probable total reported cases in Anderson County – at that time – 778 were in the city of Palestine while 83 confirmed cases were in Elkhart. Frankston has 38, Tennessee Colony now has 37, Montalba has 16 cases, Neches has three and Cayuga has two. These numbers do not include recoveries.
There have now been 20 COVID-19 related deaths in Palestine, two in Elkhart and one in Frankston.
NET Health also reported gender and age breakdowns for the number of confirmed cases indicating there were 420 males and 546 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.