Counties in NET Health area showing ‘substantial’ amount of new COVID-19 cases

Hospitals seeing all-time highs for COVID-19 patients

Counties in NET Health area showing ‘substantial’ amount of new COVID-19 cases

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Health officials are warning of dramatic increases in COVID-19 cases in the East Texas area.

Five of the seven counties covered in the NET Health area have shown substantial increases of COVID-19 cases.

Using a formula of cases per 100,000 population from the previous seven days, numbers show the counties of Van Zandt, Rains, Wood, Smith and Gregg have substantial community spread.

“All of our hospitals have had increased numbers of COVID-19 patients admitted,” said Dr. Tom Cummins, Chief Medical Officer for UT Health East Texas.

Down the street at CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances, you’ll find a similar story.

“We’re actually seeing all-time high numbers in our hospitals and out-patient testing," said Dr. Mark Anderson, Chief Medical Officer for CHRISTUS.

Their hope is that East Texas avoids situations that have been seen in other parts of the state, like El Paso, where 10 mobile morgues were brought in to hold dead bodies.

“We don’t want to be a situation where El Paso is," Anderson said. “And it’s really contingent on all of the citizens in our counties to take appropriate precautions in order to prevent that type of spread from happening.”

“My worst fear as a hospital administrator is getting overwhelmed and being unable to meet the rest of the needs of our patients," said Cummins.

Both hospital leaders continue to urge East Texans to do what they can to help, like wearing masks and avoiding large gatherings.

“Those simple things can slow the spread of this virus and keep people from dying," Cummins said. "And dying a very hard, tragic death on life support, being turned over in the bed, all of the things that those folks have to go through. We can make a difference.”

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