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Texas Hospital Association, Smith County health officials ask for renewed vigilance in fighting COVID19

"The precautions are an act of kindness to yourself and others and critical to business in Texas."
A woman is accused of spraying disinfectant in a man’s face for not wearing a mask at a North...
A woman is accused of spraying disinfectant in a man’s face for not wearing a mask at a North Carolina grocery store.(Pixabay)
Updated: Jun. 22, 2020 at 7:02 PM CDT
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SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - Leaders from the Texas Hospital Association (THA) and from Northeast Texas Health District (NET Health) have issued reminders Monday to the public that it is important to keep up the use of social distancing and masks, hand sanitizer and soap, to protect themselves and others from COVID19.

A statement from Texas Hospital Association on Monday stated agreement with Gov. Greg Abbott’s assertions during Monday’s press conference.

“With hospitalizations on the rise, Texas hospitals are underscoring Gov. Greg Abbott’s message today, encouraging everyone to follow personal precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including masking in public places and limiting gatherings as much as possible,” THA officials said in a press release Monday.

THA issued the following statement on hospitalizations rising and on personal precautions from Carrie Williams, spokesperson for the Texas Hospital Association:

Texas hospitals have ample capacity right now, and they are open, safe and ready. We’re closely watching the COVID-19 hospitalization numbers, and they are a concern. Hospitals are experienced and skilled at managing capacity related to surges and emergencies.

THA monitors hospitals’ daily capacity data and receives boots-on-the ground perspective through its twice-weekly calls with hospital leaders and state officials. We maintain statewide visibility on acute capacity issues and other critical concerns as the numbers have increased. Texas hospitals are managing the current rate of hospitalizations. But if this trend continues, it is not sustainable.

“Hospitals are doing their part, and we need people to do theirs. Texas hospitals are committed to helping people get healthy and stay healthy. Wearing a mask in public is paramount, and everyone should consistently practice social distancing. The precautions are an act of kindness to yourself and others and critical to business in Texas.”

According to Terrence Ates with NET Health in Tyler, since last Saturday, June 20, through early afternoon today, June 22, there are 38 newly reported confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Smith County. Today’s total is more than half (55%) of the 69 reported cases from the same time span of the previous week of June 13th – June 19th, 2020.

Ates says that NET Health has yet to receive any results of the COVID-19 lab results from either of last week’s free testing opportunities in Smith County that were held at the North Tenneha Church of Christ and at the St. Louis Baptist Church.

There are currently 177 active cases of COVID-19 in Smith County, the number of recovered patients is 197, and the cumulative number of cases currently stands at 378, Ates says.

“The public has the responsibility, more than ever, to follow recommendations from health officials, such as physical distancing yourself from others as much as possible and by wearing a cloth mask at public locations,” says George Roberts, Chief Executive Officer of NET Health.

The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public, where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. If you believe you have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, you will need to self-isolate from the public for 14 days.

NET Health has utilized the week-by-week case count tables and created the below line graph that show COVID-19 rates in Smith County, from the first week of March 2020 through the end of last week, June 19th, 2020. The x-axis of each graph lists the Friday of each week represented by each data point.

For this Smith County graph, the dots correspond to the following:

a) Smith County Disaster Declaration on March 27th (in yellow)

b) Texas' Phase 1 reopen on May 1st (first red dot)

c) Texas' Phase 2 reopen on May 18th (second red dot)

d) Texas’ Phase 3 reopen on June 3rd (third red dot)

Provided by NET Health
Provided by NET Health(NET Health)

“Residents are reminded to take the same measures that are recommended to prevent the spread of the flu and other respiratory viruses. “Frequent hand-washing is just as important today as when Coronavirus first reached East Texas in March 2020,” continues Roberts. “The virus is still among us, so we need to maintain these important Public Health practices.”

Smith County residents without health insurance can speak with a Community Health Worker to determine their risk of exposure to COVID-19 and to learn of available COVID-19 testing locations by contacting the NET Health Center for Healthy Living at (903) 617 – 6404.

More information about the ways all East Texas communities can help to slow disease transmission are maintained at NETHealthCOVID19.org.

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