Longview Regional Medical Center confirmed Thursday the hospital is treating a Gregg County patient who was diagnosed with COVID-19.
Gregg County authorities also announced Thursday that Gregg County now has four cases of COVID-19. Gregg County Health Authority Dr. Lewis Browne wouldn’t say where the new patient is being treated but did confirm there was only one new case in the county Thursday.
It’s unclear if the patient at Longview Regional is the county’s fourth confirmed case of the new coronavirus.
“For the last several days, our hospital has been working collaboratively with the Gregg County Health Department and the Texas Department of Health while testing was completed for a patient who presented to our facility with risk factors and symptoms consistent with those associated with novel coronavirus. The test results have confirmed the patient has COVID-19,” a statement provided by Longview Regional spokeswoman Libby Bryson said.
The patient has been “separated from other patients in an appropriate infection isolation room which only a small team of caregivers can access” since being identified as a potential COVID-19 patient. The patient remains in the hospital.
“Our hospital continually works to ensure preparedness for all types of infectious diseases,” the hospital said. “We are well prepared to support this patient during testing and treatment, and to continue providing medical care for all patients in our care while protecting the safety of our caregiving team and other patients. We take seriously our role in helping to keep our community healthy, and we appreciate the agencies that are assisting us.”
The confirmation comes a day after the county issued a mandatory shelter-at-home order, which went into effect at 11:59 p.m. Thursday. On Monday, the Gregg County Commissioners Court extended a county disaster declaration for another two weeks.
Browne said it appears the county’s fourth coronavirus case “is from travel exposure” inside the United States.
“There is still no community spread” in Gregg County, he said.
The fourth Gregg County case was announced on the same day the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Harrison County.
“I was notified about 10 a.m. by the Texas Department of State Health Services that there was a positive test for the COVID-19 coronavirus in our county,” Harrison County Judge Chad Sims said in a statement. “We already have a voluntary shelter in place order by the governor, and I’d like to reinforce that from the county.”
The news about the first confirmed case in Harrison County prompted Hallsville Mayor Jesse Casey to issue a local disaster declaration.
The declaration notes that COVID-19 poses the threat of widespread illness and has been declared a world, national and state health emergency.
Kilgore Mayor Ronnie Spradlin on Thursday ratified the shelter-at-home order issued for Gregg County residents. In doing so, he made it applicable to the entire city limits, including residents who live in the portion of the city in Rusk County.
The order is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. April 9.
In Smith County, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases remained at 21 a day after the county gained seven cases. The first coronavirus death in the region also was announced Wednesday in Smith County after a 91-year-old man died from the disease.
The Tyler Morning Telegraph reported that Trane Technologies and the U.S. Postal Service in Tyler are making adjustments as an employee from each tested positive for the coronavirus.
Trane has decided to scale down production, with a smaller, essential workforce through April 6.
“This is part of a wider effort across our Trane Technologies Europe and Americas organization to protect our people, while continuing to serve our customers,” a Trane spokesman told the Tyler paper. “In other words, plants across our organization, not only Tyler, will be taking this same measure, although start dates vary.”
The Trane employee who tested positive is counted as a Rusk County cases because of the employee’s place of residence, according to local health authorities.
And despite an employee at Tyler’s main post office on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard testing positive for the coronavirus, the U.S. Postal Service said in a statement that operations will continue and the risk for its employees is believed to be low.
The statement said the Postal Service is working to reach out to the local public health office and will follow any given guidelines.
Morris County on Thursday extended a local disaster declaration, and disaster declarations also are in place in Cass, Marion, Panola and Upshur counties in response to the pandemic.