County leaders in Deep East Texas keep watchful eye on high COVID-19 hospitalizations

TSA Region H counties reporting 19.19 percent

County leaders in Deep East Texas keep watchful eye on high COVID-19 hospitalizations

DEEP EAST TEXAS (KTRE) - The Trauma Service Area that includes the Nacogdoches-Lufkin area of Deep East Texas has hit 19.19 percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations. This is the sixth day above 15 percent. Regions that have seven consecutive days above 15 percent will be required by the state to roll back occupancy in businesses from 75 percent to 50 percent.

Nacogdoches County Judge Greg Sowell said he’s been in contact with the state and medical professionals who believe that some of the increase could be from people gathering over Thanksgiving. With Christmas around the corner, he has this advice.

“We would like to leave the public knowing, while we’re getting a vaccine eventually, that this is going to take time. And it’s going to take time to establish its effectiveness,” Sowell said. “So while we can be optimistic, we can’t disregard what’s still there. And the threat of COVID is still out there.”

If the counties in Region H do get to seven days of hospitalizations above 15 percent, Angelina County Judge Don Lymbery said he’ll get a call from the state and businesses will have to cut back.

“It’s liable to affect all the other businesses that it affected before. We’re liable to have to close bars, we’re going to have to close the gyms and everything again,” Lymbery said “I’m just guessing that that’s probably what’s going to happen.”

Lymbery said in conversations with hospitals, he has been told they are maxing out capacity.

“The good thing about this is our medical personnel know a lot more about this very deadly disease than we did to begin with,” Lymbery said. “We’ve got treatments, we know exactly what to do when someone comes into the hospital with it, and the death rate is not near as bad, percentage wise, but the problem is we’re having a lot more infections.”

Hospitals in the region have not gotten to the point of not being able to treat other injuries and Sowell said they are trying to avoid that issue.

“A very large amount of this is self-responsibility. If people will practice the good practices that they’ve been doing and continue to limit their outings, and limit their interactions at this point... if you’re sick don’t go to work,” Sowell said. “If you think you’re sick, you can get tested. Quarantine when necessary, until we can keep this slowed down, because this is all about hospital occupancy.”

Counties in the Deep East Texas TSA include Angelina, Nacogdoches, Polk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, and Tyler.

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