Kilgore’s own COVID-19 situation doesn’t exactly mirror the state’s, but cases here have been going up gradually.

The city of Kilgore, on its Facebook page, last released an update on numbers for the coronavirus last Thursday. Since then, they’ve determined there are eight new cases here, a total of 34 positive tests within the Kilgore city limits reported at the beginning of the week: 29 are in Gregg County, five in Rusk – much of the city is in Gregg, but the Southern portion is in Rusk.

But after the News Herald's print edition for today was printed, the city released another update Tuesday night. Kilgore added five more cases in the first part of the week, and is now up to 39 positives in the city, all of them in the Gregg County portion.

In all, the post notes, Gregg saw its cases really skyrocket over the weekend and early portion of the week. Gregg County announced 182 new cases Tuesday, and Smith County, where Tyler is located, announced 250 new cases. Rusk reported six new cases.

Locally, there are ways to get tested, but in Overton, there is free walk-up testing tomorrow, July 9, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Northeast Texas Career and Technology Education Center, at 1300 FM 2089. Those who come will need to wear a mask upon entry, and while there. Masks can be provided for those who don’t have one. No sign-up is necessary; people can just show up.

Results will be delivered by a phone call or message.

Kilgore shut down its city pool on Monday due to two lifeguards receiving positive test results (see that story in this edition), and Brookshire’s and other stores are asking customers to please wear masks inside, along with employees, who have been for months.

Across the state, according to The Associated Press, hospitalizations have more than doubled in the last two weeks, with that figure checking in at 8,698 people on Monday.

Along the Texas-Mexico border, Starr County Judge Eloy Vera said that two severely ill patients were flown hundreds of miles north to Dallas and San Antonio because hospitals in the Rio Grande Valley were at capacity.

Texas surged past 8,000 statewide hospitalizations for the first time over the Fourth of July weekend.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler said hospitals in the Texas capital are at risk of becoming “overwhelmed” in the next week to 10 days unless the trajectory changes. San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg says hospitals in the nation’s seventh-largest city are approaching capacity, and in Houston, officials say hospitals have already exceeded base capacity in intensive care units.

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a mandatory statewide mask order last week after previously resisting the idea.

On Monday, Texas reported 5,318 new cases, after a record high of 8,258 on Saturday. Texas also reported 18 additional deaths Monday, bringing the totals to 2,655 reported deaths and 200,557 confirmed cases.

The true number of cases is likely much higher because many people have not been tested and studies suggest that people can be infected and not feel sick.

It is important to note that for most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the highly contagious virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal. The vast majority of people recover.

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