COVID-19 update

While the COVID-19 patient counts have improved this week, local hospital officials say the current surge is not yet over.

Local hospital officials say that while the pace of the COVID-19 surge has slowed, the numbers of patients is still well above the totals from one month earlier.

Hunt County added two more COVID-19 deaths overnight, along with more than 100 new cases of the virus. Less than 40 percent of the individuals eligible to receive a COVID-19 in Hunt County have received a second dose, while there are plans to begin offering third doses of the vaccine later this month.

Hunt Regional Healthcare CEO Richard Carter provided the hospital’s bi-weekly COVID update Friday morning, noting it had been 30 days since the reports had begun in response to the most recent surge of the virus.

“On August 10 we reported a total of 48 COVID+ inpatients with five of those in ICU and all of those five on ventilators,” Carter said. “Today Hunt Regional Medical Center has a total patient census of 164. Seventy-eight of these patients are COVID+. Currently our ICU has 25 total patients with 14 of those COVID+. Thirteen of the 14 COVID+ patients are on ventilators. The Greenville ER currently has seven patients waiting for available inpatient beds. None of these seven patients need to be admitted to the ICU.  So, even though it seems that we may be reaching a plateau we are far from being out of the woods.”

In its latest report, the Texas Department of State Health Services indicated Hunt County had recorded 210 deaths attributed to COVID-19, two more than on Wednesday and seven more than on Friday, Sept. 3. The county has recorded 28 COVID-19 deaths since Aug. 8.

The statistics were compiled by the state agency Thursday afternoon.

Hunt County had reported 7,296 cumulative confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Thursday, 72 more than the day before, with 1,827 probable cases, an increase of 31 cases from the day before.

There were 762 active cases in the county, 19 more than on Wednesday.

There had been 8,361 estimated recoveries from COVID-19 in Hunt County as of Thursday afternoon, 81 more than on Wednesday.

Carter said the hospital’s staffing issues continue in terms of offering testing for COVID-19.

“Staffing continues to do well for nursing and respiratory therapy.” he said. “We have sufficient staffing to take care of our inpatients, but our overall patient volume remains at a level where we cannot yet consider reopening our Emergency Medical Center in Commerce. Our most pressing struggle is staffing to accommodate those seeking COVID testing. Our four testing areas, Greenville ER, Lab Solutions Greenville, Urgent Care, and the Emergency Medical Center in Quinlan are overwhelmed. Please be aware that your primary care physician, local pharmacies, TAMU-C, and others provide testing as well. You may be able to get a faster test result at one of these locations.”

The Texas Department of State Health Services reported that as of Friday, 39.36 percent of Hunt County residents 12 years old and older had received a second dose of the vaccine.

“For all of you who have received two doses of the vaccine, third doses will become available on Sept. 20,” Carter said.  “Hunt Regional does not have the staff available to provide third doses of the vaccine. Please note, it is required that third doses are given no earlier than eight months after your second dose. Also keep in mind that if you originally received the Pfizer then your third dose must be Pfizer. Same for Moderna. We are working on a list of available locations for third doses. This information will be made available next week in this update and on social media. If you are immunocompromised you are able to get a ‘booster’ vaccine at this time. Local pharmacies have these boosters available now. If you were not previously vaccinated then please reconsider and get vaccinated as soon as possible. Our area pharmacies are available for first and second doses.

A list of all of the available regional infusion centers and therapeutics facilities is available online at https://tinyurl.com/4cvpm6yd

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