Statewide and Area Numbers Increasing
By Will Johnson
EAST TEXAS – The numbers are starting to climb once again. While some say COVID-19 is a hoax, over 232,000 dead Americans seem to indicate otherwise. Of these 232,000 dead Americans – by Nov. 3 – the Texas Department of State Health Services (TxDSHS) reported over 18,000 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. Throughout the month of September, the number of newly reported cases of COVID-19 stayed below the 4,000 mark on all but six days. The first two weeks of October were also promising as the numbers stayed below the 4,000 level on all but one day.
As more and more restrictions have been lifted, it appeared as if COVID-19 was on the ropes. Unfortunately, in the last three weeks the numbers have gone back up. Since Oct. 13, however, 12 of the past 21 days have seen reported cases above the 5,000 mark and on Tuesday, Nov. 3 there were 7,215 new cases of COVID-19 reported, the most since Aug. 18.
Houston County cases spiked in the early part of the summer, but as autumn began, the numbers started to fall. Houston County numbers had remained relatively low and the number of active cases have remained below 10.
The latest report received from TxDSHS, received on Oct. 27, indicated there were eight active cases in Houston County with no active cases at the Eastham Prison Unit. Last week, there were 16 active cases with none at the prison facility.
In addition to the eight active cases this week, TxDSHS reported 411 people had recovered from the virus while the number of deaths in Houston County attributed to COVID-19 remained at five.
“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 are continuing to climb. On Tuesday, Nov. 3, Anderson County Judge Robert Johnston received notification of 18 new confirmed and probable cases. That brings the total to 347 active cases of COVID-19 in Anderson County.
Last week on Oct. 27, there were 305 active cases. There have also been 1,071 reported recoveries and 25 deaths in Anderson County.
The Northeast Texas Health District reported on Monday, Nov. 2 of the 1,425 confirmed and probable total reported cases in Anderson County – at that time – 1,104 were in the city of Palestine while 152 confirmed cases were in Elkhart. Frankston has 65, Tennessee Colony now has 51, Montalba has 27 cases, Cayuga has four and Neches has three. These numbers do not include recoveries.
There have now been 22 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 614 males and 811 females who had tested positive. Age wise, there were 195 cases reported for those between 0 and 20 years-of-age. There were 430 cases for those between 21 and 40 years-of-age. The 41-59 age group had 459 cases and the 60-79 age group had 230 confirmed cases. The 80 and above age group now has 98 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.