A day after Gregg County recorded its highest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases since early August, that mark was topped again Thursday. Meanwhile, confirmed virus cases skyrocketed by 149 in Smith County, which includes Tyler.

Also in Gregg County, Circuit Court District Clerk Trey Hattaway, of Kilgore, announced that due to COVID numbers, jury trials are postponed and potential jurors need not report for duty on Monday.

Regional health organization the Northeast Texas Public Health District, known as NET Health, reported 57 new virus cases in Gregg County on Thursday, raising the confirmed case total to 2,862.

The city of Kilgore is in both Gregg and Rusk counties.

The organization Wednesday reported 51 new cases in Gregg County. That was the highest single-day increase since Aug. 8, when daily reports of new cases came from the Gregg County Health Department. The county’s cases that summer day increased by 89.

The county has had 2,225 confirmed recoveries, one more than Thursday, and 43 confirmed COVID-19 deaths, according to the health district. The county’s number of confirmed deaths, which does not include 10 deaths with the coronavirus as a probable cause, has not increased since Oct. 22.

On Thursday, there were 594 confirmed active cases of COVID-19 in the county and four active cases in Gregg County Jail inmates.

The state on Wednesday reported three new case of the coronavirus in Rusk County and no additional deaths. The county has had 1,076 positive cases, according to the state, and 29 COVID-19 deaths.

Smith County’s 149 new confirmed cases Thursday raised its total to 5,155, according to NET Health.

Confirmed recoveries remained at 3,702 on Thursday, and confirmed coronavirus-related deaths was unchanged at 77.

As for the court, Hattaway said the decision was made by judges along with guidance from the county’s health department.

Prospective jurors who had received a summons for Monday are no longer required to appear.

Jury selection is set to resume Nov. 30.

According to Associated Press reports, almost 7,000 COVID-19 patients were in hospitals across the state Thursday, the most in almost three months.

The 6,925 hospitalizations are the most Texas has counted since Aug. 12, according to reports by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

However, state figures appear to be lagging indicators of the present COVID-19 outbreak in Texas when compared with statistics compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The state coronavirus count for the pandemic that began in March was 993,841, while the Johns Hopkins count for Texas topped 1 million earlier this week.

Meanwhile, the state’s tabulations have often usually have left dozens, sometimes hundreds, of cases uncounted for weeks.

Overall, 62,525 new coronavirus infections and 698 new COVID-19 deaths have been reported in Texas in this past week alone, according to Johns Hopkins statistics.

The Texas death toll for the pandemic was 19,469 as of Thursday.

The coronavirus wave continues to alarm local officials. As coronavirus cases overwhelmed El Paso-area hospitals, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego imposed a curfew, which Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asserts violates Gov. Greg Abbott’s emergency order pre-empting local authority to take such action.

Now, the lone Republican in charge of one of the state’s top five urban counties said he would like to fine persons who do not and will not wear face masks, but Abbott’s order will not allow it.

“That’s the last thing in the world that we wanted to do, but our top priorities are keeping the hospitals open and keeping businesses open,” Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley told KRLD-AM. “And with the huge increases that we’ve had in cases recently, the numbers that are beginning to show up in the hospitals, that’s becoming more and more of a concern.”

Tarrant County, which was the last major Texas urban county to require face masks, reported 1,191 new coronavirus infections and seven new COVID-19 deaths Thursday, all with underlying health conditions. That brought the county’s total cases to 78,029 and its pandemic toll to 784.


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