Designation Could Have Impact on Local Businesses
Texas Department of State Health Services on Jan. 2 listed Trauma Service Area F, which includes Hopkins County, among those in which COVID-19 patients account for a high percentage of the overall hospital capacity, or those having “high hospitalizations,” which could impact local businesses.
According to the DSHS website, all counties in TSA F except Delta, Morris and Red River Counties are considered to be within a “Trauma Service Areas where, for the last seven days, 15% or more of total hospital capacity has been COVID‑19 patients.” Those three counties have had less than 30 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days and the judge for each has submitted a certification that the county meets criteria to be exempt from GA-32, under which the Governor stipulated which businesses are to reopen at what capacity.
GA-32, issued Oct. 14, allowed businesses that meet certain criteria to expand capacity from 50 percent to 75 percent. However, those in areas with “high hospitalizations” can only open at 50 percent. GA-32 specifically defines what”high hospitalization” means and when it applies:
“Areas with high hospitalizations” means any Trauma Service Area that has had seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID- 19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of total hospital capacity exceeds 15 percent, until such time as the Trauma Service Area has seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID- 19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of hospital capacity is 15 percent or less. A current list of areas with high hospitalizations will be maintained at www.dshs.texas.gov/ga3031/GA-32
According to the DSHS data, Saturday, Jan. 2 is the seventh consecutive day that TSA F’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have accounted for 15 percent or more of the total hospital capacity and the third consecutive day in which TSA F’s COVID-19 capacity has exceeded 15 percent. In fact, TSA-F’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have accounted for 15 percent or more of the total number of hospitalizations for 10 of the last 11 days, from Dec. 23-Jan. 2, 2021; it dipped to 14.95 percent on Dec. 26 and 15 percent on Dec. 30. Otherwise, the COVID-19 hospitalizations were above 15 percent.
TSA F was listed Saturday, Jan. 2, on the DSHS website cited in GA-32 as one considered to have “high hospitalizations” because “for the last seven days, 15% or more of total hospital capacity has been COVID‑19 patients.”
The patient counts for the local hospital COVID-19 unit have been considered “high” for a while. On Dec. 31, there were 26 in the COVID-19 unit at CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital-Sulphur Springs. With 96 staffed hospital beds at the local campus, that pushes the Covid hospitalization rate locally up to 27.08 percent. No new details have been reported for the local COVID-19 unit as that data is only provided on weekdays, with the exception of holidays. Based on the information provided by local emergency management officials for the local hospital on weekdays, the COVID-19 hospitalization rate has remained above 15 percent since the second week of November. The lowest count reported in the last month was 17 COVID-19 patients on Dec. 17, or 17.7 percent. The local hospital did make adjustments in
With the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the state continuing to grow, currently, 12 of the state’s 22 TSAs are listed as “high capacity”. The only TSAs in Texas that are not considered to be “high capacity” are Trauma Service Areas C, J, K, L, O, Q, U and V, although TSAs L, Q and V have all had at least three days at or above the 15 percent threshold.
According to Hopkins County Emergency Management Coordinator Andy Endsley, Hopkins County has not received official word from the Governor’s Office regarding the matter. County Judge Robert Newsom will make any announcements regarding “high capacity” and any changes for Hopkins County when county officials receive official word about it.