Editor’s Note: Judge Jones received several additional positive COVID case after this story was first published, so we have updated the numbers in this story to reflect that. We have also updated numbers as of early Tuesday afternoon for our area nursing homes.
A fifth death from COVID-19 has been recorded, and there are 47 cases in Panola County, Judge LeeAnn Jones reported Tuesday morning.
Jones said the number of recoveries increased to three.
In relaying an update given to all county judges from Jim Allison, Jones said Monday that the Texas Department of State Health Services had confirmed COVID cases increase by 25 percent, with deaths increasing 50 percent, since Monday of last week.
“While the rate of increase has slowed, Texas has not reached its peak,” the update said. “Continue mitigation measures, praying including stay-at-home orders and CDC social distancing guidelines.”
President Donald Trump has issued guidelines for lifting restrictions, the update said, and that includes a two-week decline in total cases.
“Texas is still experiencing daily increases,” the update said. “Hopefully, we will reach our peak caseload soon and can begin moving toward completing the two week decline.”
Briarcliff Skilled Nursing and Rehab on Tuesday afternoon was reporting three resident COVID-19 deaths on its website. Active cases included 16 residents and 11 employees.
The facility has tested 27 residents and 18 employees. Eight residents and four employees tested negative.
The facility said it had three pending tests for employees.
Panola Nursing and Rehabilitation expanded its self-reporting of COVID-19 cases on its website.
As of Tuesday afternoon, that facility said three residents have active cases. It has tested 21 residents and one employee, with eight residents testing negative.
Panola Nursing has 10 resident and one employee tests pending.
No other COVID-19 cases related to Carthage Healthcare Center had been announced as of Tuesday afternoon aside from the one non-caregiver staff member announced earlier this month.
Panola County Sheriff’s Office
The Panola County Sheriff’s Office said Monday it had received a donation of N95 masks and gloves from the Texas Association of Counties.
“We are grateful for you looking out for us!” the sheriff’s office said in the announcement.
The Panola County Fresh Water Supply District No. 1 said Friday it was postponing its annual Take-A-Kid Fishing event because of COVID-19.
The water district said it would update everyone when a new date has been choosen.
UT Health East Texas System
UT Health East Texas announced Monday that it would be resuming elective surgeries at its hospitals beginning Wednesday.
Gov. Greg Abbott had lifted his restrictions last week, allowing hospitals to resume non-urgent surgical procedures if they maintain 25 percent of their bed capacity to care for COVID patients and have an adequate supply of personal protective equipment.
UT Health East Texas said as it resumes elective surgeries, safety is its priority. and that it would be following CDC guidelines and state and local government orders.
“We are committed to providing continuity of care, and will assess care needs with individual patients,” Dr. Thomas Cummins, Chief Medical Officer, said in a statement. “We will provide our best care guidance while balancing the risks of community COVID-19 spread.”
The hospital system will continue to limit visitors and continue to monitor the health of its employees and visitors. COVID, their caregivers and potential COVID patients will be isolated in a separate area at the system’s facilities, it said.
UT Health also said the previous surgical restrictions meant a concern for other patients’ medical issues.
“One of our biggest concerns in the weeks since COVID-19 emerged in East Texas is patients who might be putting off routine medical care or planned surgeries, resulting in more emergent medical issues,” said Moody Chisholm, UT Health East Texas President and CEO. “We know that the outcome for a patient is far better if we can treat the problem before it becomes an emergency.”