Multiple offices and businesses were closing Tuesday as the number of COVID-19 cases in Hunt County continued to surge, while hundreds of people lined up at the Hunt Regional Medical Center in Greenville, seeking a limited number of vaccinations against the virus which were available locally.
Health officials say more vaccines are on the way, and more places will be available to provide them, but no one is sure when that might happen.
The office of Hunt County Judge Bobby Stovall had not released its latest COVID-19 report from the Hunt County Health Department as of press time Tuesday.
The Texas Department of State Health Services indicated that there had been 3,874 total COVID-19 cases in Hunt County as of Tuesday, with 85 deaths and with 2,890 recoveries. A total of 899 active cases of the virus had been reported to the state office Tuesday.
The numbers of deaths from the virus in Hunt County, reported by the state agency, remains much higher than the statistics released by county officials, due to the way the state calculates COVID-19 deaths, which in part uses death certificate information not yet available to the county. The number of death certificates filed with the County Clerk’s office (including deaths of non-county residents) was reported at 79, and the number of county-citizen deaths the County Health Department has been able to independently confirm was at 45 as of Saturday.
Vaccinations of the COVID-19 vaccines began Monday at the Hunt Regional Medical Center in Greenville. The facility was intending to distribute 500 doses of the vaccine to Tier 1B residents of Hunt County. The hospital was to administer 125 vaccines each day through Thursday.
But the hospital issued a statement via its Facebook page Tuesday, indicating there was an “overwhelming” response to those seeking the vaccine and promising more supplies would be available soon.
“Our understanding is we will receive weekly shipments of the vaccine, but we do not have a confirmed date,” said Lisa Hill, Director Foundation, Development and Marketing Communications “Our pharmacists are working closely with the Department of State Health Services to try and keep up to date with when, and how many vaccines, we will receive.”
Hill said the lines of those seeking the vaccine was an attempt to develop a registration system for the process.
“We are working on implementing an online registration system that should go into operations within the next two weeks,” Hill said. “We had 500 doses to administer to Tier 1B citizens of Hunt County this week and asking people to line up each day, even though that would not be our preference, was the quickest and easiest way to get the doses of vaccine administered. We must get them administered as quickly as possible so that we can get additional vaccine from the state.”
The pharmacies with the Brookshire’s stores in Greenville, Commerce and Quinlan and the Super 1 store in Greenville were each expected to receive 100 doses of the Moderna vaccine, although the shipments were each listed as pending as of Tuesday afternoon.
Updates on the status of the availability of the vaccines and to whom it will be offered can be found online at https://tinyurl.com/yylrbd8j.
Meanwhile, the Hunt County Tax Office in downtown Greenville was closed indefinitely as of Monday afternoon due to a COVID-19 exposure while the city of Greenville announced that beginning Wednesday, the Greenville Animal Control facility will be closed to the public due to COVID-19 exposure. The situation will be reassessed in one week. Anyone in need of immediate assistance can call 903-457-2990.
The Walmart Supercenter in Royse City was to reopen Wednesday morning after being closed temporarily because of COVID-19 concerns.
The announcement was made Monday afternoon by Casey Staheli, a senior manager with Wal-Mart’s National Media Relations.
The store, located at 494 W. Interstate 30, was closed Monday afternoon to allow third-party cleaning crews time to thoroughly clean and sanitize the building.
The store was kept closed Tuesday to provide employees time to restock shelves and prepare the store to reopen Wednesday.
In a prepared statement, Staheli said the closing and cleaning “is for the well-being of our associates and customers, and in consideration of guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and health experts.”