COVID-19 coverage graphic

Gregg County recorded three more deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the county’s virus death toll to 20.

County Health Authority Dr. Lewis Browne said all three of the patients who died had other health complications.

One of them was an 85-year-old woman who died on her way to the emergency room because of respiratory issues. She was later tested for COVID-19, and the test returned positive.

The other two were a 72-year-old man and a 62-year-old man, both of whom died in a hospital, Browne said.

Coronavirus cases went up by 18 in Gregg County on Wednesday, while recoveries rose by two.

County Health Administrator A.J. Harris said the county now has 1,325 cumulative cases, with 242 recoveries.

Harris said 5,665 total tests had been administered in the county as of Wednesday, with 4,101 negative results and 239 results pending.

Browne said that, as of Wednesday, Longview hospitals were treating 93 patients for virus, but not all patients are from Gregg County.

He said Christus Good Shepherd Medical Center-Longview has received the most patients from outside Gregg County, but neither hospital is at such a critical level that elective surgeries would need to stop.

Browne said hospitalizations have more than doubled in a month. The increase shows how active the currently diagnosed patients are, he said.

He said one of the next major points will be waiting to see how cases increase when schools reopen.

“It’s not gone away,” Browne said. “It’s not plateaued.”

Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt on Wednesday said the public is responding much better to mask wearing and other COVID-19 precautions compared with earlier on in the pandemic.

“It’s much better than it was two weeks ago,” Stoudt said. “Most all of the leaders since February have been saying three things: wear a mask, wash your hands and social distance. I’m very pleased that people are responding. We’ve just got to keep it up.”

Stoudt said wearing a mask, washing hands and social distancing are about taking care of your neighbor.

“The numbers are showing that it’s still alive and well,” Stoudt said. “We’ve got to keep our guard up to fight it.”

To the east, Harrison County recorded one new virus-related death, along with nine new cases, County Judge Chad Sims said in Facebook update.

The new numbers bring the death count to 34 and the cumulative case count to 600. Recoveries remained at 402, Sims wrote.

Sims asked for prayers for the family of the person who died.

“Let’s continue wearing masks, avoiding crowds and practicing excellent hygiene so we can see a decrease in our numbers,” Sims wrote. “It takes each one of us doing our part.”

In Smith County, 29 new cases were recorded for a cumulative count of 2,251, the Northeast Texas Public Health District said.

NET Health also said COVID-19 recoveries soared by 134 on Wednesday, setting recoveries at 646.

The county’s active case count dropped to 1,591, and the death count remained at 14.

The number of East Texas patients in Tyler hospitals remained at 157 on Wednesday.

Wood County reported two new COVID-19-related deaths, bringing the county death toll to eight, according to NET Health.

The county has had 276 total virus diagnoses, with 126 recoveries.