Covid Testing

Customers wait in the drive-thru pharmacy line Monday at Walgreens on Fourth Street at Loop 281 in Longview. The business is one place in Longview that also offers drive-up COVID-19 testing.

Public health officials on Monday reported 620 total new cases of COVID-19 in Gregg County since Thursday.

Monday’s report appears to show another ease in the rate of new cases in the county after NET Health spokesman Terrence Ates called numbers in a Sept. 7 report “eye-popping.” That report, which included five days of testing, showed 1,864 new confirmed and unconfirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county or about 15.53 new cases per hour. On Thursday, NET Health reported 389 cases in the previous 48 hours, which is about 8.1 new cases per hour. In the most recent report on Monday, 620 new cases across four days represents about 6.46 cases per hour.

The data released Monday afternoon showed an increase of 619 active cases in the county since the district’s previous report on Thursday as recoveries from the virus remained unchanged at 13,465. There have been 17,379 total cases — confirmed and probable — in the county since the pandemic began.

NET Health routinely updates the levels of community spread of COVID-19 for the seven counties it covers. However, the numbers on Monday had not changed since Thursday when each of the seven counties far surpassed the threshold for “substantial” community spread.

Substantial community spread represents “large-scale, uncontrolled community transmission,” according to NET Health.

The health district also provides disease surveillance for Smith, Anderson, Henderson, Rains, Van Zandt and Wood counties. Gregg County on Thursday had the highest seven-day rolling rate of infection adjusted for population at 142.92.

In the state’s Trauma Region G, which includes Tyler and Longview, daily hospitalization numbers for COVID-19 remain near pandemic highs, but they have decreased some in recent days.

The single-day record was 822 on Wednesday, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Since then, hospitalization numbers in the region, which encompasses 19 counties, have dipped below 800 twice. On Monday, the latest day for which data was available, there were 789 COVID-19 patients hospitalized.

On Monday, NET Health reported 360 East Texans being treated for COVID-19 in Tyler hospitals down from a pandemic high of 389 set around Labor Day weekend.

The district on Monday reported 980 new cases of COVID-19 in Smith County since Thursday with 6,087 total active cases and 24,884 confirmed and probable recoveries.

East Texas counties, including Gregg and Smith, continue to lag behind statewide numbers in terms of vaccinated residents.

In Gregg County, 45.35% of people age 12 and older had been fully vaccinated on Tuesday, along with 75.49% of residents age 65 and older.

In Smith County, 44.93% of people 12 and older had been fully vaccinated, and 74.60% of residents 65 and up had been fully vaccinated, according to the state.

Statewide, 59.05% of Texans age 12 and above have been fully vaccinated, according to state data, and 77.87% of the state’s residents age 65 and older have been fully vaccinated.

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