QUESTION: How have our local hospitals been affected by COVID-19 patients? How many patients have they treated? Were they overrun with COVID-19 patients?

ANSWER: This is difficult to provide a good answer to without information from the hospitals.

I asked both local hospitals the same questions about the number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized, how many are in ICU and how many are on ventilators, as well those questions concerning what they’ve seen in total since COVID-19 cases arrived in East Texas. I also asked them to speak generally about how they have been affected.

Christus Good Shepherd Medical Center-Longview did not to provide any information responsive to those questions.

Longview Regional Medical Center spokeswoman Libby Bryson told me Monday the hospital was caring for five confirmed positive COVID-19 patients. By Wednesday, two of those patients had been discharged home. (She also said Regional has 233 beds, with eight of those dedicated to the ICU).

“These patients are being cared for in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols, including the use of personal protective equipment for the small number of staff providing medical care and placement of the patients in appropriate infection isolation rooms that are separate from other patients,” Bryson said.

I did find information through the Texas Department of State Health Services that provides a daily regional count of hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

For the purposes of that count, we are considered to be in Trauma Area G, which includes Marion, Harrison, Panola, Rusk, Shelby, Trinity, Gregg, Upshur, Cherokee, Freestone, Houston, Rains, Franklin, Van Zandt and the eastern portions of Anderson, Henderson, Smith, Wood and Camp.

As of Wednesday, the department reported there were 57 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in our trauma area, with a total number of 1,920 staffed hospital beds in the region, including 508 available hospitals beds, 83 available ICU beds and 287 available ventilators. That compares with 54 hospitalized COVID-19 patients on Tuesday and 63 on Friday.

Also, as of Wednesday morning, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported there were 1,812 people in Texas hospitals with lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 33,369 reported cases — 18,565 active and 16,791 recovered as well as 906 fatalities.

Q: I am trying to find out the location of Pancho’s in Longview.

A: I’m sorry to say you’re about 15 years too late. The restaurant was on Texas 31, near the entrance to Longview. However, it closed in about 2005 and the building was demolished almost a year ago.

Q: Will people on Social Security get a stimulus check?

A: Yes, they will.

“Those who don’t usually file a tax return and receive Social Security retirement, survivor, or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and VA Compensation and Pension (C&P) also receive automatic payments of $1,200,” IRS information says. “While some of these groups receive Forms 1099, many in this group don’t typically file tax returns. Many people in these groups are expected to see the automatic $1,200 payments later (in April), with SSI and VA payments expected to start in May.”

People who didn’t file returns because they have little or no income and who don’t receive any of those benefits also are eligible for the “Economic Impact Payment.”

“They need to register with the non-filer tool on as soon as possible so they can receive a payment,” the IRS website states.

— Answer Line appears Thursday and Saturday. Email questions to, leave a message at (903) 232-7208 or write P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606.