Covid Caseload Concerns Gregg County Health Officials
COVID CASES IN GREGG COUNTY -Texas’ seven-day average for new Covid cases was 13,708 on Sunday, up from more than 1,710 on July 9. There were almost 9,600 people hospitalized on Saturday, and 28 deaths on Sunday. Just about county in Texas is feeling this Third Wave of Covid infections. In East Texas, Gregg County officials and hospital administrators held a press conference yesterday to let the public know how this surge is impacting the county’s healthcare resources.
"Hospitalizations have increased by 49% from the week before with every age group seeing an increase," said Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt. "Covid-19 related deaths are up 15% from the same time period."
According to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services: the average 7 day running average of new Covid cases for last week was up 92% from the week before – a rise that is faster than the previous two Covid waves. Todd Hancock, CEO of Christus Good Shepherd Health System in Longview, explained that the fast rise in Covid cases is reflected in the recent number of patients at his hospital.
"In mid January of this current year, we peaked at around 200 Covid patients a day in our hospitals at the Good Shepherd Health System," Hancock explained. "The projection is that within possibly a few weeks, we will be approaching at where we were in January."
Another concern is staffing as Hancock said the state had provided funding for additional healthcare workers for the last surge but that isn’t happening now and that Christus-Good Shepherd is having to pay higher rates for traveling nurses. Another interesting statistic shared at the press conference was the vaccination rate among Covid patients.
"About 30 days ago we had 8 (Covid) positive patients in house at our hospital, this morning we had 47," Steve Gordon, CEO for Longview Regional Medical Center
"About 30 days ago we had 8 (Covid) positive patients in house at our hospital, this morning we had 47," explained Steve Gordon, CEO for Longview Regional Medical Center. "Now if you were to look at that census and pare out only the vaccinated patients, we would have a census of one. The other 46 are unvaccinated in our hospital."
According to Gregg County officials about 40% of Gregg county is vaccinated but that anywhere from 70 to 80% of a community should be vaccinated to stop the spread of Covid-19.