COVID Vaccine

Nurse Jenna Lucas prepares to administer a COVID-19 vaccine in December at Christus Good Shepherd Medical Center in Longview.

All Texas Walmarts and Sam’s Clubs now will offer walk-in COVID-19 vaccines in addition to scheduled appointments, Walmart said Tuesday.

Walk-in shots are available as supply allows, and customers who schedule their shot can complete pre-vaccination paperwork ahead of time.

Appointments can be made at walmart.com/COVIDvaccine and samsclub.com/covid. Walmart pharmacies are open seven days a week, and Sam’s Club pharmacies are open every day except Sunday. People who want a vaccine do not need to be a Sam’s Club member to get the shot there.

Pharmacies will be administering all three shots — the Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna — as supplies allow, according to Walmart.

“Now that supply and eligibility have expanded, it’s even more important for us to reach underserved and vulnerable populations to ensure equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Dr. Cheryl Pegus, executive vice president of Health and Wellness for Walmart. “Widespread vaccination is the only way we will eventually end the pandemic and help our country reopen, and we don’t want anyone to get left behind as we enter this new chapter in our fight against COVID-19.”

Vaccine appointments also are available for Saturday at the hub at the Longview Fairgrounds. The hub administers the Pfizer vaccine by appointment only. Register for the vaccine at https://vaccinate.christushealth.org.

New cases of COVID-19 in Gregg County increased by two dozen during the past week as the hospitalization rate from the virus rose slightly in the region.

The Northeast Texas Public Health District, known as NET Health, late Monday reported 24 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Gregg County residents since the previous Monday, bringing the total cases in the county to 6,123. Deaths in the county remained at 108.

The health district reported confirmed recoveries from the virus in the county increased to 5,919. In March, the district said it would begin updating numbers only on Mondays and Thursdays.

The numbers do not include 4,997 probable cases, 4,779 probable recoveries and 88 probable deaths.

A case is considered probable when a person receives a positive result from a rapid test that is not then laboratory confirmed.

On Monday, there were 96 confirmed active cases of COVID-19 in the county and no active cases in Gregg County Jail inmates.

The state on Tuesday afternoon reported that 35.93% of Gregg County residents age 16 and older have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The number is an increase from 28.22% a week ago. Among residents in the county 65 and older, 68.74% have been fully vaccinated.

In Smith County, NET Health late Monday reported 84 new confirmed cases in the past week and one additional death. The county has had 11,775 confirmed cases, 11,137 recoveries and 206 fatalities from the virus.

The Texas Department of State Health Services on Tuesday reported 22 new cases of coronavirus in Harrison County residents in the past week and two additional deaths.

The county has had 2,469 cases and 108 fatalities from the virus, according to state data.

The state reported eight additional cases of the coronavirus in Rusk County since in a week and no additional deaths. The county has had 2,222 positive cases, according to the state, and 107 COVID-19 deaths.

Cases in Upshur County increased by five to 1,338 total and deaths remained at 74.

In the past several days, the COVID-19 hospitalization rate in the Longview and Tyler area rose to above 4% for the first time since the middle of March.

COVID-19 patients on Monday, the latest day for which state data was available, accounted for 3.47% of hospital capacity in the Trauma Service Region G, Texas Department of State Health Services data showed. The rate has been above 3% since April 23 when it hit 3.09%. In recent weeks, the hospitalization rate had dipped as low as 1.88%, but it rose to 4.05% Sunday.

The counties that make up the trauma service area are Gregg, Anderson, Camp, Cherokee, Franklin, Freestone, Harrison, Henderson, Houston, Marion, Panola, Rains, Rusk, Shelby, Smith, Trinity, Upshur, Van Zandt and Wood.

Statewide

State health officials reported more than 3,200 new COVID-19 cases and more than 50 new deaths throughout Texas on Tuesday.

The Texas Department of State Health Services reported 3,217 new confirmed cases, plus 354 previously unreported cases. The state has had 2,478,241 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

On Monday, the state had 62,517 estimated active cases. Of those, 2,603 required hospitalization.

The state on Tuesday reported that 49.88% of Texas residents have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

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