GREGG COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - Gregg County experienced a spike of at least 51 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, according to a county health authority.
Although the county has seen a recent slump in daily positive cases, Wednesday saw at least 51 probably and confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, according to Dr. Lewis Browne of the Gregg County Health Department. Browne had noticed numbers increasing slowly before Wednesday’s spike.
“I had noticed the week before that we were having -- instead of the usual 10 and occasionally 20 [cases] -- we were going very commonly between 20 and 30 cases a day,” said Browne.
Browne believes the spike in cases could be related to the rising numbers of students returning to campuses after many school districts ended asynchronous learning in September.
The recent in change temperatures could also lead to a rise in respiratory viruses, the doctor added.
“I think just because of the weather swing, this is the time -- fall and winter -- to have more and more viral infections, Strep infections, anything like contagious infections that’s related to respiratory usually gets worse during the winter-fall time than the summer,” Browne explained.
Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt thinks the numbers reflect the amount of testing.
“I think you’ve got to keep in perspective, the availability of testing now is widespread. So the more testing that takes place, there’s no question in my mind that you’re going to find more cases,” Stoudt said.
And he says three weeks ago Gregg County hospitals had few COVID-19 cases, but now: “COVID units are full so it’s definitely even impacted that. So the number of cases has gone up and the severity of cases has gone up,” Browne said.
He says the Longview hospitals can make more beds available.
“They just are trying to keep them in a different area because we do know it’s a contagious disease,” Browne said.
He adds the cold weather has driven people indoors.
“That’s what we’ve usually seen with flu, that’s why it always spikes up in the winter because people are not outside because it’s too cold,” Browne said.
And, Brown adds, with schools ending remote learning, asymptomatic cases could bring it home to the family.
“They are together for a long time in the evening and night and they can spread the infection,” Browne said.
Browne says the Gregg County case count for Thursday is 33.