8 coronavirus cases reported in Smith County

8 coronavirus cases reported in Smith County
Coronavirus (Source: KLTV)

TYLER, Texas (KLTV/KTRE) - The number of coronavirus cases in Smith County has risen to eight.

NET Health updated the totals Friday afternoon. As of 12 p.m. Friday, there were eight confirmed COVID-19 cases in Smith County, according to the North East Texas Public Health District. A press release from NET Health also stated that evidence of “community spread of COVID-19 has been found.”

“We are asking the public to contact their healthcare provider prior to visiting hospitals or emergency rooms for treatment,” the press release stated. “It is very important to mitigate the spread of Coronavirus that all potential patients are screened so healthcare providers can to prepare for their arrival.”

According to the press release, the three new confirmed cases have a recent travel history within Texas. The release also stated that the test sample results were analyzed and confirmed by private laboratories.

Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran said that “community spread” means that people are having too much close contact within the community, and that is allowing the virus to spread.

During a live segment on East Texas Now Friday, Dr. Ed Dominguez, KLTV’s medical contributor, explained the community spread concept in more detail.

“Community spread means that people are spreading it within a community, without anybody leaving.," Dominguez said. "So whoever you caught it from didn’t travel, and whoever they caught it from didn’t travel out of Smith County. So community spread means it’s now moving within and there’s no travel risk that has been identified.”

Dominguez also said that community spread doesn’t make the virus any worse or any safer. He said it’s no different. The fact that community spread has occurred means the COVID-19 virus is now a part of the community, and as a result, the response needs to be different from a public health standpoint.

“All three individuals are in home-isolation from the general population,” said George Roberts, Chief Executive Officer of NET Health. “The public has the responsibility, more than ever, to follow recommendations from health officials, such as social distancing and handwashing.”

The report states the numbers remain the same in Rusk County and Gregg County with one positive test each.

Updated state numbers show five people have died from coronavirus in Texas.

The Texas Department of State Health Services states 194 people have tested positive for the illness.

That number now includes one confirmed COVID-19 case in Cass County. An official with the Cass County judge’s office said Friday that the Texas State Department of Health Services is saying that there is now a confirmed coronavirus case in Cass County.

The website also states 5,277 people in Texas have been tested for the virus.

COVID-19 infographic
COVID-19 infographic (Source: Sarah Thomas/KLTV)

Here is the rest of the text from the NET Health press release.

Residents are reminded to take the same measures that are recommended to prevent the spread of the flu and other respiratory viruses. Everyone in East Texas should remember to:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Practice social distancing - Avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay home if you believe you have symptoms.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze into the bend of your elbow or into a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects using cleaning items that contain bleach.
  • Follow recommendations from your local health district officials.

If you have been exposed to a sick traveler, have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, or are experiencing fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, please contact your healthcare provider. The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases.

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