Gregg County recorded a fifth COVID-19 case Sunday, while Diagnostic Clinic of Longview closed its pediatric department after the husband of a doctor who practices there tested positive for the virus.
Longview Mayor Andy Mack said the county’s fifth coronavirus case was confirmed Sunday afternoon. It was not clear if the case was related to travel or involved community spread.
Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt said he had confirmation of a positive test result but had not received details about the case.
It was one of at least eight new cases reported Sunday across Northeast Texas, including another four in Smith County. That brought the total there to 31, and the total across the region to at least 56.
New confirmed cases also were reported in Angelina County, where two new cases made the total three; and Nacogdoches County, which doubled to two from one.
Diagnostic Clinic of Longview CEO Bert Ratay said Sunday the doctor who was potentially exposed to COVID-19 started showing symptoms and was tested for the virus Friday afternoon.
Results of the test were pending, he said.
The doctor became aware of the possible exposure Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, Ratay said, meaning she had contact with patients for about a day and a half. The doctor went into quarantine after exhibiting symptoms.
The families of all the patients the doctor had contact with, as well as clinic staff, were notified.
Ratay did not identify the doctor, but a GoFundMe page for Dr. Sonja Edmonds was set up Sunday. The Diagnostic Clinic website lists Edmonds as a pediatrician who practices there.
Edmonds is married to Dr. Charles Edmonds, and the GoFundMe page says he has tested positive for COVID-19 and is on a ventilator. Longview Regional Medical Center said Thursday it was treating a Gregg County patient who had a confirmed case.
At Diagnostic Clinic, Ratay said the pediatric unit was being deep cleaned and sanitized, an effort set to continue today. While the department will probably reopen sometime this week, Ratay said he was not sure what day.
Once it does, the way pediatric care is given will change, he said.
Wellness visits cannot completely stop because the department sees babies on a vaccine schedule, he said. When families come for appointments, they will first be screened. Patients will be screened on the phone before the visit and again at the door on the day of the appointment.
Children who are coming to the facility because they are sick will be seen via telemedicine or at an outside facility, Ratay said. Those coming for a wellness visit — such as vaccines or monitoring babies’ growth — will be able to be seen inside if they are not showing symptoms.
“We want to be there for all our pediatric patients and the moms and dads. We just have to do it a little differently right now to keep everyone as safe as possible,” Ratay said. “We hope people are patient with us on that. COVID-19 is here in Longview, so the time to act is now more than ever.”
Diagnostic Clinic also has closed its ExpressCare clinic, but Ratay said it was not related to the doctor’s possible COVID-19 exposure but because of limited patient volume.
Meanwhile, confirmed COVID-19 cases in Caddo Parish increased to 219 on Sunday from 189 the previous day, according to the Louisiana Department of Health. The parish, which includes Shreveport, reported five coronavirus-related deaths by Sunday, up from three reported as of Saturday.
Confirmed cases in Bossier Parish jumped to 56 on Sunday from 45 on Saturday. DeSoto Parish has 25 positive cases. Webster Parish has nine. Lincoln Parish has seven cases, Claiborne Parish has four, Bienville Parish has three and Natchitoches Parish has two.
The rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in Northwest Louisiana and across the state prompted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to increase restrictions on travel from the state.
Just two days after Texas began requiring airline passengers from New Orleans to comply with a two-week quarantine, Abbott said state troopers now will also patrol highway entry points at the Louisiana border and require “everyone stopped” in those cars to also self-isolate. Abbott’s order requires drivers to fill out a form listing where they will quarantine in Texas.