The rate of spread of COVID-19 in Gregg County remains high but has eased considerably in recent days, according to a Monday report.

The Northeast Texas Public Health District, known as NET Health, announced that the seven-day rolling rate of new cases had decreased to 74.11 on Monday from 117.67 on Thursday. The rate remains more than double the district’s threshold for “substantial” community spread, but it is about half what it was the week of Sept. 3 through 9 when the seven-day rolling rate reached 142.92.

The seven-day rolling rate calculates the average number of all COVID-positive cases from the previous seven days, according to NET Health.

A county reaches substantial community spread when its seven-day rolling rate is at or more than 35 cases. Substantial community spread represents “large-scale, uncontrolled community transmission,” according to the health district.

NET Health on Monday also announced 242 total new cases of COVID-19 in Gregg County residents since Thursday. The new cases also are a decrease from numbers in recent biweekly reports. Monday’s report includes four days. On Thursday, in a report that included the previous three days, NET Health announced 400 new confirmed and probable cases.

Total active cases of COVID-19 in the county decreased on Monday to 3,651 from 4,081 on Thursday as the total number of recoveries in the county soared from 13,464 to 14,133.

The numbers paint a different picture than that in Harrison County, according to County Judge Chad Sims.

Sims on Monday announced on Facebook that the county marked its highest number of COVID-19 deaths in a seven-day period with 12 new fatalities. He also said the county had 400 new cases in the past seven days.

“That’s 12 families who likely were not expecting this,” Sims said of the deaths. “12 families that are still hurting and need our support. Please protect yourself so your family doesn’t have to endure this heartache.”

COVID-19 hospitalizations in a region that includes Longview and Tyler in recent days have been at their lowest level since August.

On Sunday, the latest day for which data was available, 740 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in 19-county Trauma Region G, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

As the highly contagious Delta variant has been bringing about the wave of recent cases, hospitalizations in the region reached a high of 822 on Sept. 8. Hospitalizations have been largely decreasing in the days since.

The number of hospitalizations reported Sunday is the lowest number since there were 732 on Aug. 29.

On Monday, the number of patients being treated for COVID-19 in Tyler hospitals had decreased by nearly 30 since Thursday. NET Health reported 331 patients on Monday compared to 360 in Thursday’s report.

The number of new COVID-19 cases in Smith County also was lower than in the previous report. On Monday, NET Health reported 481 new combined confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19. The number is almost half the 960 new total cases the health district reported Thursday.

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

In Gregg County, 46.80% of people 12 and older had been fully vaccinated, according to the state, while 76.51% of residents 65 and up have been fully vaccinated.

In Smith County, 46.04% of people 12 and older had been fully vaccinated, the state shows. In the county, 75.12% of residents age 65 and older had been fully vaccinated on Monday.

Statewide, 60.41% of residents 12 and up have been fully vaccinated, according to the state, and the number is 78.45% of Texans 65 and older.

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