New Gregg County cases

Public health officials on Monday reported four COVID-19 deaths in Gregg County residents since Friday as the number of patients being treated for the virus in Tyler hospitals reached another record.

Additional deaths and hundreds of new cases have become a hallmark of the virus’ local impact as the highly contagious Delta variant continues to push its most recent wave.

The Northeast Texas Public Health District, known as NET Health, reported 212 total COVID-19 deaths in Gregg County in its biweekly update Monday. The number was an increase from the 208 total deaths it reported Friday. The district also reported 348 new probable and confirmed cases bringing the county’s total active cases to 2,636.

Gregg County Health Authority Dr. Lewis Browne this past week said intensive care units at Longview’s hospitals are full and that as capacity is stretched at the facilities, people with other maladies might have to wait for care.

NET Health on Monday reported 378 COVID-19 patients being treated in Tyler hospitals in its biweekly update. The previous peak single-day number of 359 was set a week ago.

Regional COVID-19 hospitalizations also remained at record levels. There were 732 hospitalizations for the virus in the state’s Trauma Region G, which includes Gregg County and much of Northeast Texas, on Sunday, the latest day for which data was available. The number has been surpassed just once since the pandemic began — on the previous day.

Smith County’s total active cases increased by 921 since Friday pushing the confirmed and probable active cases in the county to 4,638.

Each of the seven counties for which NET Health provides disease surveillance — Gregg, Smith, Anderson, Henderson, Rains, Van Zandt and Wood — had “substantial” levels of community spread of the virus.

The counties all had seven-day rolling rates of significantly more than 35 new cases a day per 100,000 people. Wood had the highest rate at 103.83, while Gregg and Smith each registered more than 99.

A county reaches “substantial” community spread when its rolling rate is 35 cases or above. Substantial community spread represents large-scale, uncontrolled community transmission, including in congregate settings, according to NET Health.

Vaccination levels in Gregg and Smith counties continue to lag behind statewide numbers.

In Gregg County, 42.58% of residents 12 and older had been fully vaccinated on Monday, according to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services. The number rises to 74.06% for Gregg County residents 65 and older.

In Smith County, 42.56% of people 12 and older have been fully vaccinated, while 73.44% of residents 65 and older have been fully vaccinated.

Statewide, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported 56.85% of residents 12 and older have been fully vaccinated and 76.92% of people 65 and older are fully vaccinated.

Representatives of Longview’s two hospital systems this past week issued statements again encouraging residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to help stop its spread and the strain it has placed on hospitals.

Other counties

Anderson County had 108 confirmed active cases and 342 probable active cases, according to NET Health. COVID-19 deaths in Anderson County were at 84.

Henderson County had 840 active confirmed cases and 390 probable active cases, NET Health reported. The county has had 134 total deaths.

In Van Zandt County, there were 612 confirmed active cases and 397 probable active cases. The county’s COVID-19 death toll was at 79, including 16 deaths listed with COVID-19 as the probable cause.

Wood County had 497 confirmed active cases and 427 probable active cases, NET Health reported. The county’s death toll was at 96.

Rains County had 89 confirmed active and 72 probable active diagnoses, according to NET Health.

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