COVID-19 coverage graphic

From staff and wire reports

Public health officials on Friday reported another day of double-digit new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Gregg County residents and a new death in Smith County while recoveries remained flat.

Regional health organization the Northeast Texas Public Health District, known as NET Health, announced 10 new confirmed cases in Gregg County for a total of 2,431 since the pandemic began. The health district reported an additional 683 probable cases since the first confirmed case in Gregg County in March.

Confirmed deaths and recoveries in the county remained unchanged Friday at 42 and 1,781, respectively.

Harrison County Judge Chad Sims on Friday announced 19 new confirmed cases in his county along with a plea to residents to take measures that will halt the recent steady increase in COVID-19 diagnoses.

“Please don’t become complacent,” he said. “Thirty-plus years ago state law and common sense compelled us to make a habit of buckling our seat belts. Today we face a different threat but one that can just as easily be addressed. Let’s make a habit of wearing masks around others especially indoors. Avoid crowded places and keeping your hands clean are also good habits. Let’s renew our efforts to get these COVID cases under control.”

Harrison County has had 997 confirmed cases and 897 total recoveries, which includes nine new ones reported Friday. The county had 65 known active cases going into the weekend.

NET Health on Friday reported one new COVID-19 death in Smith County along with 20 confirmed cases and one new recovery.

A 67-year-old Tyler man who had COVID-19 has died, according to NET Health spokesman Terrence Ates.

Smith County has had 65 confirmed coronavirus deaths in residents and seven others in which COVID-19 is the probable cause.

The county has had 4,155 confirmed cases and 3,022 recoveries from the virus. On Friday, the county had 1,090 active cases.

The number of patients with confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 being treated in Tyler hospitals dropped on Friday from 138 to 122.

The state on Friday reported nine fewer confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Rusk County a day after showing an increase of one. Friday marked the second day this week state health officials reported nine fewer cases in the county than on the previous day. The county has had 953 positive cases, according to the state, and 20 COVID-19 deaths.

Upshur County’s cases increased by 10 to a cumulative 454. Coronavirus deaths in the county remained at 12.

Pine Tree ISD

Pine Tree ISD on Friday sent messages to parents about a positive COVID-19 test results in a staff member at Parkway Elementary School.

The message was followed by another email to parents about positive cases at the junior high and high schools. According to the district, staff members and students in grades eight and 12 tested positive in unrelated cases.

The point of exposure for all of the cases was reportedly not on campus.


Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday he is deploying medical personnel and supplies to the Texas Panhandle and surrounding region as the coronavirus surges again, marking the second time in two weeks the state has sent response teams because of rising caseloads.

Hospitalizations are increasing in Amarillo and Lubbock, mirroring overall numbers across the state.

An additional 100 medical workers will arrive at hospitals in the cities by Sunday, Abbott said. The state is also sending ventilators and oxygen concentrators.

“The additional medical personnel, supplies, and PPE surged to the Panhandle and South Plains will help these communities care for patients and contain the spread of this virus,” Abbott said.

Since Oct. 1, the number of people hospitalized because of COVID-19 has risen 34% in Texas after the state relaxed restrictions in mid-September, citing a decrease in hospitalizations.

Texas health officials on Thursday reported 5,682 newly confirmed cases in residents statewide along with 91 new deaths.

The new numbers brought the total number of state cases since tracking of the pandemic began in March to 815,678, with a death toll of 16,903, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported. The health department also estimated 81,090 active cases of the virus, including 4,248 current hospital patients down slightly from 4,263 on Thursday.