COVID-19 coverage graphic

Gregg County recorded 36 new COVID-19 cases Friday, while Smith County reported its 17th virus-related death.

Gregg County Health Administrator A.J. Harris said the county’s new total is 1,381. Recoveries and deaths remained at 276 and 22 deaths, respectively.

Harris added that there have been 5,734 tests administered in Gregg County, with 4,120 negative results and 234 pending tests.

In Smith County, the Northeast Texas Public Health District announced Friday that the county recorded its 17th virus death — an 84-year-old Arp man — and a cumulative case count of 2,309.

Recoveries in Smith County remained at 646, and there are 1,646 active cases, NET Health said.

In July, Smith County recorded 13 virus-related deaths, 1,655 new cases and 352 recoveries, based on NET Health data.

The Smith County COVID-19 death count does not include the death of Raul Rodriguez, 61, a Smith County Jail inmate who tested positive for the virus and died in mid-May, according to Rodriguez’s family.

At the time of his death, the Smith County Sheriff’s Office said the Texas Rangers would conduct an investigation, which is standard protocol for an inmate death. The Smith County Jail reported one COVID-related death to the Texas Commission on Jail Standards that day.

In Harrison County, virus cases rose by five and recoveries soared by 37. The county has 612 total cases, including 468 recoveries and 35 deaths, County Judge Chad Sims said.

“It’s nice to see so many recoveries in today’s numbers. Let’s get to work on slowing the new cases,” Sims said in a statement. “Y’all be safe out there.”

Texas health officials said more than 8,800 new confirmed cases of the virus that causes COVID-19 were reported Friday, bringing the state total since the start of the pandemic to almost 421,000 cases. More than 141,000 of the confirmed cases are active. The state’s rolling rate of positive tests remained steady Friday at 12.12%, up fractionally from Thursday.

The true number of cases in Texas is likely higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.

The state reported nearly 300 new COVID-19 fatalities Friday, bringing the overall death toll to almost 6,600. Texas patients hospitalized with COVID-19 totaled 9,336, about 40 more than Thursday.