Hunt County started the week by reporting its largest surge in COVID-19 cases yet, while hospital officials say they are ready to meet the continued increased demand for patients of the virus.
Officials with Hunt Regional Healthcare are also preparing to begin storing samples of a COVID-19 vaccine, if and when one is approved for use.
Hunt County added 115 confirmed COVID-19 cases Monday and Tuesday, along with an additional death attributed to the virus, with state health officials raising the death toll even higher.
The Greenville Independent School District has closed all of its campuses through the upcoming Thanksgiving break because of COVID-19.
The office of Hunt County Judge Bobby Stovall reported Wednesday morning that 23 of the cases were recorded Monday and the other 92 on Tuesday. An initial investigation by the Hunt County Health Department determined the latest cases included 67 from the Greenville ZIP codes, 18 from Quinlan, eight from Caddo Mills, five each from Celeste and Lone Oak, four from Campbell, two each from Commerce, Royse City and West Tawakoni and one each from Wills Point and Wolfe City.
All of the patients were reported to be resting at home.
The latest death was reported to be a male, aged 65-plus from Quinlan, who died Sunday. He was first reported to have contracted COVID-19 on Oct. 12.
Hunt County was reported to have had 2,555 total cases Wednesday, an increase of 249 cases during the past week. Statistics indicating the number of recoveries and that number of patients hospitalized had not been released as of press time Wednesday. As of Saturday, 27 people were hospitalized locally with the virus.
Lisa Hill, the director of the Foundation Development and Marketing Communications for Hunt Regional Healthcare, said while the hospitalization numbers have fluctuated upward slightly in recent weeks, the hospital in Greenville has plans in place to handle any major surge in cases.
“We are completing plans to ‘cohort’ or double-up ICU patient rooms, if necessary, but that is not needed at this time,” Hill said. “We are also preparing additional negative pressure rooms to be used by COVID, or other respiratory patients.”
She explained that the hospital will also be ready for a potential COVID-19 vaccine.
“Freezers that will accommodate the COVID vaccine that requires storage at less than -60 degrees centigrade have been purchased so we will be prepared to receive those vaccines when they become available,” Hill said.
The Hunt County Health Department was reporting Wednesday a total of 36 people from Hunt County had died of COVID-19. The number of state-reported deaths was at 53, three more than what had been reported Saturday, and the number of death certificates filed with Hunt County (including non-citizen deaths) was 50 as of Wednesday, representing an increase of seven deaths.
The Texas Department of State Health Services reported there had been 32,876 COVID-19 tests conducted in Hunt County as of Wednesday, representing a 7.7 percent positivity rating.