NET Health community spread

Public health officials Thursday reported 400 new total cases of COVID-19 in Gregg County residents since Monday as the rate of virus spread in the community declined.

The Northeast Texas Public Health District, known as NET Health, reported 103 confirmed and 297 probable new cases of the virus in county residents, which together pushed the county’s total active cases to 4,081 from 3,689 on Monday.

Four hundred new cases of the virus over 72 hours preceding Thursday’s report is fewer per hour than the 620 new cases reported Monday in a report that spanned four days, or 96 hours.

Total recoveries in Gregg County remained nearly unchanged Thursday at 13,464.

New data showed the seven-day rolling rate of infection in Gregg County decreased considerably in the past week. For the week ending Thursday, the seven-day rolling rate of infection was 117.67, down from 142.92 for the week ending Sept. 9.

The seven-day rolling rate is determined by averaging the number of new COVID-19 cases during the period divided by the county’s population and multiplied by 100,000.

Gregg and the other six counties for which NET Health provides disease surveillance, however, still easily had levels of community spread considered “substantial” by NET Health. Substantial community spread represents “large-scale, uncontrolled community transmission,” according to the health district.

NET Health also covers Smith, Anderson, Henderson, Rains, Van Zandt and Wood counties.

In Smith County, the health district reported 1,257 total new COVID-19 cases since Monday and an increase in the seven-day rolling rate of infection.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in a region that includes Longview and Tyler decreased slightly in recent days after setting a pandemic high Sept. 8, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

On Wednesday, the latest day for which data was available, there were 774 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the state’s 19-county Trauma Region G, with 262 of those in ICUs. Just more than a week ago, hospitalizations reached 822, the highest number of single-day COVID-19 hospitalizations in the region since the pandemic began.

The portion of residents in Gregg and Smith counties who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 changed less than a percentage point since Monday.

In Gregg County, 46.05% of residents 12 and older had been fully vaccinated Thursday, according to state data, which was up from 45.35% on Monday. Of residents 65 and older, 76.18% had been fully vaccinated up slightly from 75.49% Monday.

In Smith County, 45.46% of residents 12 and older had been fully vaccinated Thursday compared to 44.93% on Monday. Of residents 65 and older, 74.87% had been fully vaccinated up slightly from 74.6%.

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