Area COVID-19 Update – March 9

Numbers Starting to Show Promise

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

EAST TEXAS – Between the wintery weather and the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine, the overall numbers are beginning to show promise. Still, now is not the time to let your guard down. Keep wearing masks, washing your hands and practicing social distancing.

While some steadfastly hold on the belief that COVID-19 is a hoax, over 526,000 dead Americans seem to indicate otherwise. Of these 526,000 dead Americans – by March 8 – the Texas Department of State Health Services (TxDSHS) reported 44,483 Texans had suffered a COVID-19 related death.

After a peak in the spring and early summer of 2020 peak, the numbers began to decline during the fall months of last year.

Unfortunately, throughout the months of November and December, the numbers shot back up and the trend continued into the New Year. From Jan. 1 until Feb. 9, 33 of the 39 days saw reported cases above the 10,000 mark in Texas. There were also eight days where the number of newly confirmed cases eclipsed the 20,000 mark. 

Fortunately, from Feb. 10 until Monday, March 8 the number of new cases has stayed below the 10,000 threshold and on Monday, March 8 only 1,100 new cases were reported, the lowest since April of last year.   

Houston County cases spiked in the early part of the summer, but as autumn began, the numbers started to fall. The county’s numbers remained relatively low throughout most of November, however as November faded into December, the number of active cases skyrocketed. The yo-yo effect continued as February rolled into March as the numbers have started to taper off.    

The latest report received from TxDSHS on March 8, indicated there were 66 active cases in Houston County. On March 1, there were 60 active cases in the county and 42 deaths.

In addition to the 66 active cases this week, TxDSHS reported 1,455 people had recovered from the virus while the number of deaths in Houston County attributed to COVID-19 now stands at 44.   

 “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,” Houston County Emergency Management Coordinator Roger Dickey said late last year.

Moving to Anderson County, the numbers showed a significant decline. On Monday, March 8, Anderson County Judge Robert Johnston received notification of 2 newly confirmed and probable cases. That brings the total of active cases of COVID-19 in Anderson County up to 187, with 75 deaths attributed to the virus. There have also been 2,922 reported recoveries. On March 1, there were 195 active cases and 73 deaths.

The Northeast Texas Health District reported on Monday, March 8 of the total 3,184 confirmed and probable reported cases in Anderson County, 2,356 were in the city of Palestine while 372 confirmed cases were in Elkhart. Frankston has had 196, Tennessee Colony now has had 113, Montalba has had 75 cases, Cayuga has had 14 and Neches has had 15. These numbers do not include recoveries.

There have now been 63 COVID-19 related deaths in Palestine, five in Elkhart, three in Tennessee Colony, three in Frankston and one in Montalba.

NET Health also reported gender breakdowns for the number of confirmed cases indicating there were 1,377 males and 1,790 females who had tested positive for the virus. 

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 which may occur within two to fourteen days after exposure to COVID-19 now 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 blueish lips or face.

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 protected].  

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