TYLER, Texas (KETK) – COVID-19 cases in East Texas have reached a new low.

Active COVID-19 cases in East Texas have dropped rapidly with 8,526 active cases on Oct. 22 to 2,984 on Nov. 3. This is a 65% decrease in COVID cases in 12 days.

KETK spoke with Dr. Tom Cummins, Chief Medical Officer of UT Health East Texas, and he believes that the virus is mutating again. Cummins said that the virus may be transforming into a less severe form than the delta variant.

“I think ultimately we’re gonna find it was something that changed in the virus, triggering a lot of that fall off,” said Cummins.

He predicts that East Texans could see those numbers continue to decrease as more people get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“As we continue to get more adults vaccinated and now that the vaccine has been approved for children, that’ll be a huge step in stopping the pandemic,” said Cummins.

Cummins said that the UT Health hospital staff has noticed a big difference in the ICUs being much less crowded than they were a couple months ago.

“It’s certainly a relief to hospital workers and our staff and our doctors and everyone else to see instead of 160 people like we had during the summer, now we’re down to 20,” said Cummins.