COVID-19 cases falling in East Texas as holidays approach, medical experts still advise caution

Coronavirus

Tyler, Texas (KETK)- Gov. Greg Abbott announced that COVID-19 cases are at a two-month low from the recent peak, despite the Delta variant and many people meeting up for football games and the state fairs.

So what does that mean for East Texas with the holiday season quickly approaching? Dr. Paul McGaha, Smith County Health Authority, said although the positive cases are declining, they are still seeing large numbers of patients in the hospital for COVID-19.

“The numbers are lower, but they still are remaining very high. We need to be careful with convening with other and larger groups. We are coming into the Halloween season, Thanksgiving and Christmas and it would be good to be cautious and wearing masks in larger groups especially if they are unvaccinated,” McGaha said.

As the holiday season rolls around, vaccination rates across East Texas are increasing.

Dr. McGaha shared that the Smith County vaccination rate is at a 47%, and the State of Texas is at 62%.

“We are really encouraging people to get that vaccination series, two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer, and the one dose of Johnson and Johnson,” Dr. McGaha said.

Health officials recommended that if you are unvaccinated, get tested, and get the two recommended doses before meeting with family and friends for the holidays.

More COVID-19 testing sites are opening up around Tyler to alleviate traffic at other locations. Regional Director for COVID-19 Testing, Gary Collier said, “I had Tyler Health Department give me a call about two weeks ago, saying that the positivity rate in this particular area has gone up, so they wanted more testing.”

This new testing site is located at St. Louis Baptist Church and no appointment is needed. They are testing four days a week, Monday through Thursday 9-3 p.m.

Those who have had coronavirus in the past often worry about whether or not they should get the vaccine. Health officials are still encouraging everyone to get vaccinated since the antibodies don’t last forever.

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