NET Health: COVID-19 community spread levels increasing across East Texas

Several counties upgraded to moderate spread level
Watch KLTV 7 News at 10.
Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 7:06 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 30, 2022 at 10:38 PM CDT

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The Northeast Texas Public Health District now considers six of the seven counties they cover to be experiencing a moderate level of community spread when it comes to COVID-19. Moderate community spread is level two out of three and defined by NET Health as “sustained transmission with confirmed exposure within congregate settings and potential for rapid increase in cases.”

NET Health's community spread map was last updated on Thursday, June 30.
NET Health's community spread map was last updated on Thursday, June 30.(NET Health)

And while health officials say most cases are mild, the number of people hospitalized with the virus is also rising.

“We’re seeing more admissions to the hospital,” said Dr. Tom Cummins, Chief Medical Officer for UT Health East Texas. “Now the severity of illness in the hospital hasn’t come close to what we’ve seen in previous surges, and certainly not the number--the sheer number of people.”

Cummins said the hospital division’s test positivity rate is also rising.

“We went from less than 10% positivity rate, which was as low as we’ve been in almost two years, to the last week’s data that had 20 to 25% positive,” Cummins said.

Cummins believes the availability of at-home testing and other testing options could mean those numbers are being underreported.

Data from the Texas Department of State Health Services shows hospitalizations rising over the last month in Trauma Service Area G. On June 29, 64 people were hospitalized in Area G with COVID-19. That number doubled from 32 on June 15, and increased by 49 from 15 people on May 29.

Copyright 2022 KLTV. All rights reserved.