Although nearly twice as many new COVID-19 cases were reported on Friday than on Thursday, the COVID-19 hospitalizations decreased both locally and across the region, according to the Jan. 22 COVID-19 reports from Texas Department of State Health Services and Hopkins County/Sulphur Springs Emergency Management. While there were no new recoveries reported on Friday, there also were no new fatalities announced, but 56 additional doses of vaccine were administered in Hopkins County.
DSHS’ Jan. 22 COVID-19 Texas Case Counts dashboard showed a total of 17 new Hopkins County COVID-19 cases, 10 confirmed cases and seven probable cases.
So far this week, 35 Hopkins County residents have received lab confirmed molecular COVID-19 test results. From Jan. 1-22, a total of 202 Hopkins County residents have tested positive on molecular tests for COVID-19. That brings the cumulative total since March 2020 when the pandemic began spreading across Hopkins County to 1,324 residents who have had COVID-19. That’s 3.57 percent of the total population of Hopkins County who have had confirmed cases of COVID-19 from March-Jan. 22.
Since Sunday, 23 Hopkins County residents have also been reported as having “probable” COVID-19 cases either through a positive antigen test or by having combination of symptoms and a known exposure to someone with COVID-19 without a more likely diagnosis. That increases the total so far this month to 115 new probable cases. Cumulatively, since the state began tracking probable cases, Hopkins County has had 1,232. That’s 3.32 percent of the Hopkins County population who have been reported as having probable COVID-19 cases.
Combined, that’s 2,556 Hopkins County COVID-19 cases, or 6.89 percent of the total population who have had COVID-19. Of those 2,556 cases, 2,343 have recovered and 89 have died from COVID-19. That leaves 124 active COVID-19 cases in Hopkins County as of 4:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22.
HC/SSEM officials in the Jan. 22 COVID-19 update reported six less patients in the COVID unit at CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital Sulphur Springs on Jan. 22 than the 26 reported Tuesday-Wednesday, Jan. 18-21. That’s the first time since Dec. 18 that the patient count reported by HC/SSEM Monday-Friday (except holidays) has been below 22 in the CMFH-SS COVID Unit.
COVID-19 hospitalizations declined across Trauma Service Area F, which spans across most of Northeast Texas to Hopkins and Lamar counties, declined for the second consecutive day on Thursday. The overall COVID-19 patient count for TSA-F dropped from 236 on Jan. 19 to 186 on Jan. 20, according to the Combined Hospital Data over Time by Trauma Service Area (TSA) report and the DSHS Jan. 22 COVID-19 Test and Hospital Data dashboard.
On Thursday, the count dipped to 182 COVID-19 hospital patients, 123 occupying general hospital beds and 59 in ICU beds. In fact, there were seven more ICU beds available Thursday than the nine reported on Wednesday. That’s the most ICU beds available across TSA-F since Dec. 27, but is still 14 less than on Dec. 26.
While COVID-19 hospitalizations went down, the total hospital capacity in Trauma Service Area F was expanded from 1,028 no Wednesday to 1,079 on Thursday, and the total number of staffed inpatient beds rose from 936 on Wednesday to 987 on Thursday. Total hospitalizations rose from 619 on Wednesday to 647 on Thursday, which is still 11 less than on Jan. 14 and 70 less than on Dec. 31.
Those changes resulted in another notable drop in the percent hospital capacity COVID-19 hospitalizations comprise. On Jan. 21, COVID-19 hospitalizations made up only 16.87 percent of the total hospital capacity in Trauma Service Area F, that’s down from 18.09 percent on Wednesday, 22.35 percent on Tuesday and 23.42 percent on Jan. 11. In fact, the Jan. 21 COVID-19 percentage is the lowest it’s been in 23 days. The last time it was lower was Dec. 29, when it dipped to the 15 percent.
While the 16.87 percent still puts TSA-F on the “high hospitalizations” list and subject to GA-32, Trauma Service Area F will need to be below for seven consecutive days before the business capacity and surgical restrictions are lifted. Jan. 21 marked the 27th day COVID-19 hospitalizations in Trauma Service Area F have matched or exceeded the 15 percent threshold set by the governor in his executive order in October. In fact, in only six of the first 21 days of this year has the COVID-19 hospital percentage been below 20 percent, Jan. 1-3, Jan. 5 and Jan. 20-21.
According to the Jan. 22 COVID-19 update released by HC/SSEM, only 57 molecular COVID-19 tests were conducted at 128-A Jefferson Street on Thursday, that’s down for 74 tests on Wednesday and 83 tests on Tuesday. Since Jan. 2, a total of 1,278 oral swab COVID-19 tests have been performed at the free testing center. Since the Red Cross building (old Fidelity Express building) was converted into a testing center on Sept. 25, a total of 8,475 molecular COVID-19 tests have been conducted at the free Sulphur Springs testing site.
Cumulatively, since the pandemic began in March, a total of 13.459 viral (molecular) COVID-19 tests have been conducted in Hopkins County, DSHS reported in the Jan. 22 COVID-19 Test and Hospital Data dashboard.
Since DSHS began tracking all COVID-19 tests several months ago, 1,560 antigen tests have been conducted in Hopkins County, including 45 antigen tests logged and reported to DSHS for Jan. 21. Five antibody tests were conducted on Thursday, increasing the total conducted in Hopkins County and reported to DSHS to 1,760.
All combined, that’s 16,560 COVID-19 tests that have been conducted in Hopkins County and reported to DSHS through Jan. 21, according to the dashboard.
Free oral swab COVID-19 testing will continue to be offered from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays in January inside the Red Cross (old Fidelity Express Building) in Sulphur Springs. Free testing is open to anyone regardless of age or address. Registration is required online at www.GoGetTested.com in order to be tested at 128-A Jefferson Street in Sulphur Springs.
A total of 1,422 people in Hopkins County had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Jan. 21, 56 more than the day before. On Jan. 21, 14 people in Hopkins County received a second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, increasing the total number of people who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 to 193. Forty-two people in the county had received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, raising the total who had received the first half of the two-shot vaccine to 1,229 as of 11:59 p.m. Thursday, according to the Jan. 22 COVID-19 Vaccine Data dashboard.
Eighty-one of the fully COVID-19 vaccinated people in Hopkins County were 16-49 years of age, 66 were 50-64 years old, 37 ages 65-79 years and 9 age 80 or older. This can be attributed largely to the fact that initially vaccinations were only offered to the 1A group comprised of front-line healthcare workers, first responders and residents of long-term care facilities. A short time later, vaccinations were made available to people age 65 or older and those age 16 and up who have certain underlying health conditions such as cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), heart conditions (including heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies), solid organ transplantation, obesity and severe obesity (body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or higher), pregnancy, sickle cell disease and Type 2 diabetes mellitus, that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19.
A total of 430 people age 65-79 years had received the first dose of the vaccine on Thursday, making that group the largest in the first dose category. A total of 338 people ages 16-49 years, 304 people age 50-64 years, and 155 people age 80 or older had gotten the first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday.