COVID-19 cases on rise in East Texas, vaccine and testing sites reopening

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TYLER, Texas (KETK) – New cases of COVID-19 in Smith and six other nearby counties are on the rise and health officials are again urging people to get vaccinated.

East Texas COVID-19 vaccination clinics and testing sites are also reopening due to this increase.

The number of patients in Tyler hospitals with COVID have nearly doubled from 45 on July 8, to 85 on July 15, said information released Tuesday by NET Health, the public health district that serves Smith, Wood, Rains, Gregg, Van Zandt, Henderson and Anderson counties.

The Delta variant is the predominant strain in the area, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.  The Delta variant is more contagious than the original strain of the COVID 19 virus.  

NET Health is reporting “moderate community spread” of COVID in Smith, Gregg, Rains, Woods and Van Zandt counties. NET Health defines this as “sustained transmission with confirmed exposure within congregate settings and potential for rapid increase in cases.”

Between July 9 and 15, Smith County had 160 cases of COVID. From June 25 to July 1, the number was 67.

People should get vaccinated for COVID-19, stressed NET Health.

“Vaccines are extremely effective, even against the Delta variant of COVID-19,” the statement said. ” If you are 12 years of age and older, you are urged to get the vaccine as soon as possible. 

The NET Health Immunizations Clinic at 815 N. Broadway Ave. in Tyler provides access for any eligible person to receive the Pfizer vaccine (if you are over the age of 12) or the J&J vaccine (if you are over the age of 18).  

Interested persons can make an appointment to receive either vaccine by visiting the “Get Vaccinated” section of NETHealthCOVID19.org

Smith County residents without health insurance can discuss their risk of exposure to COVID-19 by contacting the NET Health Center for Healthy Living, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., by calling at 903-593-7474. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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