Public health officials on Thursday announced new confirmed COVID-19 deaths in Gregg and Smith counties.

Regional health organization the Northeast Texas Public Health District, known as NET Health, said one new coronavirus-related death in Gregg County brought the county’s total tally to 35. Two newly confirmed deaths in Smith County bring its fatality count to 56.

The Gregg County resident who died was an 89-year-old man who lived in Longview, according to a statement from NET Health. In Smith County, a 61-year-old Tyler man and a 75-year-old Bullard woman who had the virus died.

The health district reported three new cases in Gregg County for a cumulative total of 1,999. Recoveries on Thursday remained at 1,290 with 674 active cases.

In Smith County, NET Health reported 16 newly confirmed cases for a total of 3,471. Recoveries in Smith County residents remained at 2,829 along with 586 confirmed active cases.

Harrison County Judge Chad Sims on Thursday reported two newly confirmed cases in his county with a cumulative count of 835.

The county’s recoveries and virus-related deaths remained at 762 and 35, respectively. The county had 38 active cases Thursday.

The state offered free coronavirus testing Wednesday at the Marshall Convention Center. Sims said 133 tests were administered at the site.

The Texas Department of State Health Services on Wednesday reported four new cases of the coronavirus in Rusk County for a total of 766 and no new deaths. The county has had six COVID-19 deaths, according to the state.

Upshur County’s COVID-19 cases increased by seven to a cumulative total of 347, according to the state. Deaths in the county remained at eight.

Area school districts: Henderson ISD has had 84 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the start of the school year, the district confirmed Thursday, while Pine Tree ISD announced two additional cases in students.

In a statement, Henderson ISD reported two new cases in high school students. One student was last on campus Sept. 3; the other was last on campus Wednesday. The district has had 41 recoveries from the coronavirus, leaving a total of 43 active cases.

“The areas of campus where the students had contact are being cleaned and sanitized,” according to the statement. “Out of an abundance of caution, we are asking all of the students and staff on the affected campuses to continue monitoring their health and checking for symptoms on a regular basis.”

The Henderson High School football team’s game against Kaufman that was to be played last night was canceled because of COVID concerns.

Henderson ISD, which has a total enrollment of 3,332, was the first school district in the area to return to in-person classes for the year Aug. 5.

Both Kilgore and Leverett’s Chapel have reported isolated cases of COVID-19 in letters and e-mails to parents.

Pine Tree ISD on Thursday said two juniors received positive test results for COVID-19. In a statement, the district said the point of exposure for the student was not on campus.

The announcement came a day after the district said a freshman and senior at the high school and a staff member at Parkway Elementary School have confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

“Compliance with safety protocols is necessary to minimize any possible exposure not only at work but in social gatherings after work with friends and co-workers,” the district said in the statement. “The utilization of masks and social distancing is recommended by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and is required at PTISD to curtail the transmission of COVID for all.”


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