Coronavirus cases within the city of Kilgore are up this week to 12, nine of them in the Gregg County portion of the city and three in the Rusk County portion, according to the report the city releases weekly.

Also, Gregg County reported 41 new cases of the virus this week – 39 of them from Gregg County Jail.

The information from the city included the fact that most of the 12 are believed to be in the recovery phase.

The announcement came from the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office Facebook, which noted those were results from testing that was done May 19-20 at north and south jail sites. Also in the notification was the information that all inmates at the south facility tested negative – 38 of the 39 positives came from the north jail complex, at 101 W. Whaley Street in downtown Longview.

The other positive was from a jailer, the post said.

County Health Authority Dr. Lewis Browne said none of the inmates from the screening last week showed symptoms.

“The interesting thing is they were all asymptomatic,” he said. “That kind of should maybe make people understand that there’s a lot of people walking around who don’t know they have it, and they could be spreading it. Nobody knew they had anything, but they could theoretically spread it.”

Browne said screenings, such as those in the jails and that have taken place recently in nursing homes, “make the numbers go up crazily,” but officials still will try to prevent spread of the virus.

“The jail is hardest,” he said. “Isolating people is not easy.”

County Health Administrator A.J. Harris on Tuesday reported the 41 additional cases pushed Gregg County’s cumulative total to 245.

According to Harris, 2,061 total tests have been done in Gregg County, as of Tuesday, and there have been 1,669 negatives, with 147 results still pending. Gregg County has 61 known recoveries and unfortunately six deaths.

The hotbed for the virus in East Texas right now, as was the case last week, appears to be in Titus County. On Tuesday, the Texas Department of State Health Services said there were 22 positive cases added to Titus’s total, giving them 321, with two deaths. Some of those results are from testing done May 19-20 of employees at a chicken processing plant in Mount Pleasant.

In other nearby counties, Harrison County reported a virus-related casualty on Tuesday – that county, which includes Hallsville and Marshall, has had 24 deaths, and currently has 234 cases, with 71 recoveries. Smith County, which includes Tyler, reported one new coronavirus case on Tuesday and a total of 199 cases, with 43 active and 152 recoveries.

All in all, according to state figures, 2,585 positive cases exist in East Texas, as of Tuesday, with 117 deaths.

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