FILE - Virus Outbreak Texas

A COVID-19 vaccination record card

Public health officials on Thursday reported Gregg County’s new cases of COVID-19 in August have easily surpassed the combined number of new cases in the previous five months.

The Northeast Texas Public Health District, known as NET Health, reported 363 new confirmed and probable cases in Gregg County since Monday, bringing the total new cases for August to 1,563 compared with 1,293 through the months of March through July. The spike in new cases shows a continued reemergence of the virus spurred by the highly contagious Delta variant.

The new diagnoses drove the county’s active cases to 1,921 on Thursday from 1,559 in Monday’s report from NET Health.

Hospitalizations from the virus also continued upward on Thursday as NET Health reported 307 patients in Tyler hospitals receiving treatment. The number is an increase from the 283 patients reportedly receiving treatment for the virus as of Monday and is nearing the pandemic high of 319.

In Smith County, NET Health reported 540 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 since Monday as active cases for the county rose to 3,468.

Community spread

Community spread levels increased for most of the seven counties for which NET Health provides disease surveillance. Six of them continue to produce seven-day rolling rates of infection consistent with “substantial” levels of community spread.

With the most recent data, Gregg County has the highest seven-day rolling rate of infection among the seven counties covered by NET Health at 83.21.

The NET Health seven-day rolling rate calculates the average number of all positive COVID-19 cases from the previous seven days. The number is divided by the population of the county, then multiplied by 100,000 to produce the seven-day rolling rate.

Gregg, Smith, Henderson, Rains, Wood and Van Zandt counties had rolling infection rates that placed them at substantial levels of community spread.

Substantial community spread represents large-scale, uncontrolled community transmission, including in congregate settings, according to NET Health.

The number of people vaccinated against the virus in Gregg and Smith counties continue to lag behind the state.

In Gregg County, 49.83% of people 12 and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 40.71% of those have been fully vaccinated, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Data shows 80.95% of people 65 and older have been vaccinated with at least one dose, while 73.13% have been fully vaccinated.

In Smith County, 49.02% of people 12 and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 41.00% of those have been fully vaccinated. The state reports 79.67% of people aged 65 and older have been vaccinated with at least one dose, while 72.52% have been fully vaccinated.

Statewide, 66.12% of the eligible population has been vaccinated, according to state data.

Other counties

Henderson County on Thursday had 896 active confirmed cases and 288 probable active cases, according to NET Health. The county has had 122 deaths from the virus.

Van Zandt County had 521 confirmed active cases and 391 probable active cases, according to the district. The county’s death toll was at 76, including 15 deaths with COVID-19 as the probable cause.

Anderson County had 53 confirmed active cases and 185 probable active cases. The district reported the county has had 83 virus deaths as of Thursday.

NET Health reported Wood County had 360 confirmed active cases and 270 probable active cases. The county’s death toll was 85. Out of the total deaths, 18 were listed as probable.

Rains County had 435 confirmed and 412 probable diagnoses. COVID-19 deaths in Rains County were at 14. Out of the total deaths, four were deemed as probable.

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