NET Health preparing for holidays with pandemic, but seeing upward trend in vaccination

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Published: Dec. 22, 2021 at 7:36 PM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - “We worry for our hospitals and for those traveling this year,” NET Health Emergency Preparedness Russel Hopkins warns East Texans this holiday season.

“Holiday travel right now is not a great idea. Particularly if you’re not using mitigation measures and you’re not vaccinated,” Hopkins said.

“More than 109 million people — an almost 34% increase from 2020 — will travel 50 miles or more as they hit the road, board airplanes or take other transportation out of town between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2,” according to AAA. An increase in travel amongst the spread of the omicron variant.

As of Wednesday, there has not been a confirmation of omicron in East Texas, “But we know that people are presenting with the mild symptoms, primarily a scratchy throat, fatigue , really, really mild symptoms and then they’re turning up positive,” Hopkins said.

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, daily COVID cases are rising. On Monday in Gregg County, 9,245 and 9,251 on Wednesday. On Monday in Angelina County, 6,782 and 6,792 on Wednesday. In Nacogdoches County, 5758 on Monday and 5763 on Wednesday. Today in Smith County, up 26 from Monday. “The cases are trending upward in our 7 day average. We’ve seen locally our case count in hospitals go from a recent low of 51, were back to 64,” Hopkins said.

Vaccinations are also rising.

“Just a few shots each day, Hopkins said. “We’re just making incremental gains, but it’s part of an overall trend upwards with vaccines.”

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