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Dec. 8 COVID-19 Update: 5 New Cases, 84 Active Cases

Five additional Hopkins County residents had received positive molecular COVID-19 test results on Tuesday, according to Texas Department of State Health Services COVID-19 Case Counts dashboard, and Hopkins County/Sulphur Springs Emergency Management officials also provided daily free molecular testing and hospital case counts in the Dec. 8 COVID-19 update.

Dec. 8 COVID-19 Case Counts

Although the week is young yet, there have only been 5 new COVID-19 cases reported for Hopkins County since Sunday. After a two day reprieve with no new case reports, DSHS on Tuesday reported five Hopkins County residents had received positive molecular COVID-19 results, the same as on Dec. 4 That makes 86 new COVID-19 cases so far in December. Most of the new COVID positives were reported on two days, 44 new cases on Dec. 3 and 20 on Dec. 5.

The 86 new lab confirmed COVID-19 cases reported through Dec. 8 is almost as many new cases as during the month of July, when a total of 89 cases were reported, and August, when a total of 91 new cases were reported. That’s more new cases reported in Dec. 1-8 than during the first 8 days of all other months since the pandemic began in Hopkins County in March. Even in September, there were only 118 new cases reported during the entire month.

While 323 Hopkins County residents received positive molecular COVID-19 test results, only 48 of those cases were reported Oct. 1-8. There were also only 138 total new lab-confirmed molecular COVID-19 positive results returned to Hopkins County residents during November, including 31 COVID positives reported from Nov. 1-8.

Daily COVID-19 case counts reported for Hopkins County by Hopkins County/Sulphur Springs Emergency Management and Texas Department of State Health Services

There have been no COVID-19 patient recoveries reported in four days. In fact, there have only been recoveries reported on three of the first eight days in December. Two recoveries each were reported on each on Dec. 4 and 5, and 80 recoveries on Dec. 2 when the active case count dropped to 19. Similarly, recoveries were reported only three days in November, 19 on Nov. 2, 21 on Nov. 6 and 42 on Nov. 9. That’s two more recoveries reported in December than during the entire month of November.

Only once have there been more recoveries reported in a single day, 81 on Oct. 29. October ended with 247 total recoveries, but had only had 36 recoveries through the 8th.

Cumulatively, 918 Hopkins County residents have received positive molecular COVID-19 results since March, including 778 residents who have recovered and 56 COVID-19 fatalities.

That leaves 84 Hopkins County residents who still had COVID-19 on Dec. 8. The active case count is edging closer to the 90 active cases the month began with. That seems especially high after the 80 recoveries on Dec. 2 reduced the active case count to 19 Hopkins County residents who still had the virus last Wednesday. The active case count hadn’t been in the teens since May 27, when the county’s cumulative totals were 27 cases and 6 recoveries. But, the 84 active cases recorded on Dec. 8 is still far lower than the 236 active case reported by HC/SSEM on Oct. 28, a day in which the cumulative case count had reached 663, with 427 recoveries. At that point, however, it should be noted that COVID-19 deaths at that time were not accounted for in the overall case counts as DSHS was not reporting that data to counties; there were 27 COVID-19 deaths from Oct. 1-28.


HC/SSEM in the Dec. 8 COVID-19 update reported 120 additional COVID-19 tests were preformed at the free testing center in Sulphur Springs on Monday. That makes 531 molecular COVID-19 tests conducted so far this month and 5.062 since the Red Cross (old Fidelity Express) building was first converted for use as a free testing site on Sept. 25.

The free state testing site has been secured through the end of December at 128-A Jefferson St. The oral swab testing is offered weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and shorter hours on Saturdays. Testing is available for anyone, but registration must be completed by an adult age 18 or older in advance online at to schedule the oral COVID swab, according to the HC/SSEM Dec. 8 COVID-19 update.

Those testing should bring the number with the QR code sent sent upon completion of registration along with a photo ID to 128-A Jefferson St. at the designated time. This is not a drive-through location. The COVID-19 test will be performed inside the building.

Testers will be asked asked if they have consumed anything by mouth in the 15-20 minutes prior to arrival. Those who have will be required to wait the requisite time before testing to better ensure a more accurate result.

The Local Health Authority nurse recommends people getting the oral molecular swab test from the free state testing site to refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, vaping, chewing gum or brushing their teeth for at least an hour prior to the test. Doing so, she reports, will make a difference in the outcome of the test.

“If you get tested at a location other than your PCP and are found to be positive, I would recommend informing your primary care provider so that they can input that test result into your chart,” said LHA Nurse Brynn Smith.

Hospital Reports

The patient count in the COVID Unit at CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital-Sulphur Springs continues to be 23 for the third HC/SSEM report in a row – Dec. 4, Dec. 7 and Dec. 8. (Local authorities do not provide hospital and testing information on Saturday and Sunday.) Tuesday is the fourth day this month in which there were 23 patients in the COVID-19 Unit; there were also 23 on Dec. 1.

The patient count hasn’t fallen below 20 in the COVID unit in the last 13 days, or at least during the the five days a week HC/SSEM provides updates.

According to the weekly business news from CMFH-SS, there are 96 beds at the Sulphur Springs facility. HC/SSEM officials recently reported the hospital had made adjustments so that up to 35 patients can be treated as part of the COVID-19 unit at CMFH-SS. That means COVID positive patients make up more than 15 percent of total hospital capacity.

The state monitors what percent of total hospital capacity COVID-19 hospitalizations make up daily in each Trauma Service Area. If that percentage remains above the 15 percent threshold for 7 days in a row, the area is considered to have high hospitalizations. After 7 days, additional restrictions are enacted for counties in that TSA, including going back to 50 percent business occupancies and in some cases, could mean business closures until the region has 7 consecutive days in which COVID-19 hospitalizations account for less than 15 percent of the total hospital capacity.

There are 22 TSAs in Texas, each identified by a letter. Daily hospitalization and hospital capacity numbers are reported by hospitals through eight Hospital Preparedness Program providers that coordinate health care system preparedness and response activities in Texas, according to DSHS.

* DSHS Lab-Confirmed COVID-Hospitalizations out of Total Hospital Capacity report through 9:30 AM CST Dec. 8, 2020

Hopkins County and CMFH-SS are within TSA-F, which includes most of Northeast Texas. As of 5:55 p.m. Dec. 8, the DSHS reported COVID-19 Hospitalizations out of Total Hospital Capacity for TSA-F had increased for the second day in a row and was nearing the 15 percent high hospitalization threshold.

The 140 lab-confirmed COVID-19 patients in hospitals in Trauma Service Area F accounted for 12.66 percent of total hospital capacity on Dec. 6, the 152 COVID patients accounted for 14.1 percent on Dec. 7 and 147 patients accounted for 14.65 percent on Dec. 8.

There were 64 ventilator available in TSA-F on Dec. 8, one more than on Monday and three more than on Dec. 4 and 5.

On Tuesday, there were 395 available hospital beds available, three less than on Monday, but 43 more than on Dec. 4, 31 more than on Dec. 5 and eight more than on Dec. 6 in TSA-F.

Only three ICU beds were available at 9:30 a.m. Dec. 8 in TSA-F, one less than on Dec. 7, half as many as on Dec. 4 and Dec. 6, and five less than on Dec. 5.

On Dec. 8, 386 hospitalizations were reported in TSA-F, three less than on Dec. 7, 36 less than on Dec. 4 and 37 less than on Dec. 5.

TSA-F had six fewer staffed hospital beds on Tuesday than the 1,078 reported on Dec. 7, four less than on Dec. 5, three less than on Dec. 4 but 57 more than on Dec. 6.

Overall, there were 981 total staffed inpatient beds in hospitals in TSA-F on Dec. 8, six less than on Dec.7, 34 less than on Dec. 6, and three and four less than on Dec. 4 and five.

HHS Reports

Texas Health and Human Services reported one employee at Sulphur Springs Christian Preschool was reported to have tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 7. That’s the only active COVID-19 case reported for the licensed child care centers, school-age programs, and before- or after-school programs listed for Hopkins County on Dec. 7.

There were no active COIVD-19 cases reported at any assisted living faculties in Sulphur Springs as of Nov. 24, the most recent data available from HHS on Dec. 8.

There was only one change in the COVID-19 case counts at the four nursing facilities in Sulphur Springs in the Dec. 7 and 8 reports; one Sunny Springs Nursing & Rehab had tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 24, the most recent data available in the Dec. 8 HHS report.

There was one active employee case each reported for Carriage House Manor, Sulphur Springs Health and Rehab and SSNR, and five active employee cases at Rock Creek Health and Rehab on Nov. 24, according to the Dec. 8 HHS nursing facility report.

Only two nursing facilities were reported to have active resident cases on Nov. 24, six at Carriage House Manor and one at Sulphur Springs Health and Rehab.

Texas Health & Human Services Dec. 8 COVID-19 nursing facility; assisted living facility; and licensed child care centers, school-age programs, and before- or after-school program reports

Author: Faith Huffman

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