Health officials: New COVID-19 cases trending upwards again in East Texas

After a spike in July and a decline in August, daily new COVID-19 cases are now rising again

Health officials: New COVID-19 cases trending upwards again in East Texas

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The Northeast Texas Public Health District says COVID-19 cases are trending upwards in East Texas, creating some concerns as flu season gets underway.

“Right now our numbers are starting to go up a little bit,” NETHealth CEO George Roberts said.

In a report to Tyler City Council today, Roberts said the trend in new COVID-19 cases is showing a slight uptick. In Smith County, 82 new cases were reported October 13, continuing the upward trend in cases.

“My theory is that the weather is getting nicer outside, people are becoming more active, there’s more activities with after hours with schools, so people are just more active right now,” Roberts said.

All seven counties NETHealth covers are seeing “moderate levels” of community spread.

“As we move into winter, there’s more crowding, there’s more people going indoors. We really need to be vigilant about the hand washing and the mask wearing and those precautions,” Smith County Health Authority Dr. Paul McGaha said.

COVID-19 case counts in Texas schools continue to remain relatively low. According to the Texas Education Agency, of the more than 1 million students on campus during the first week of school, 7,620 have since tested positive.

“I think the schools have had some chances now to work their system, see how things work with maybe less kids in school and I think they’ll do a good job moving forward,” Roberts said.

Once a vaccine is available, Dr. McGaha says they’ll have to decide how it will be distributed and who will get it first.

“Local health departments, providers, can go ahead and register to receive that vaccine now. That was opened by the Texas Department of State Health Services earlier this week,” Dr. McGaha said.

McGaha says they anticipate vaccine could be ready by the beginning of next year.

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