TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Several East Texas counties are experiencing large-scale, uncontrolled community transmission of COVID-19, according to the Northeast Texas Public Health District.
“There will be unnecessary suffering and death if we continue doing what we currently are," said Russell Hopkins, Director of Public Health Emergency Preparedness for NET Health.
Hopkins blames ineffective mitigation measures for the increase in cases and hospitalizations. He says people aren’t wearing masks or social distancing as they should be.
“We can change the trajectory by following the mitigation measures," Hopkins said. "And we repeat that every time we have a chance, because it will work.”
On Wednesday, NET Health released an updated “Community Spread Levels” infographic showing the highest level of community spread in Smith, Gregg, Wood, Rains, and Van Zandt counties. The rate is determined by calculating the average number of all positive cases from the previous seven days, divided the total by the population of the county, then multiplied by 100,000.
“I hope it doesn’t have to become so traumatic that everybody gets in a mask, because by then it will be too late," Hopkins said. “I think people should realize that there are individuals who are suffering from this disease. And that alone should be the deciding factor in how you go about your day implementing those mitigation measures.”