Photo: Centers For Disease Control And Prevention
Over the past week, Hardin County has seen more than 150 new positive cases of coronavirus – only about 50 fewer than Jefferson County, which has about four times the population.
Additionally, Hardin County saw seven more fatalities, and the number of county residents hospitalized over the past week has tripled.
Hardin County Judge Wayne McDaniel in his weekly COVID-19 report said many of the new cases confirmed over the past week can be linked to gatherings over the Labor Day holiday as well as to residential evacuations ahead of Hurricane Laura’s arrival.
“People are getting lax on wearing masks and distancing themselves from others,” McDaniel said. “Additionally, people are showing up to work and other public places while sick. It continues to be very important that we follow all of the practices necessary to prevent or slow the additional spread of COVID-19.”
Other area cities and counties are starting to see COVID-19 case reports that could be reflecting similar behaviors by other Southeast Texas residents.
After a slight dip in cases being confirmed at the end of August, Jefferson County has seen a rise in the average number of coronavirus cases confirmed each day. That number takes a slight dip around weekend reports, but it’s stayed pretty consistent in the upper 20s – a more than 450% increase in cases confirmed each day compared to late August.
The makeup of who’s testing positive also appears to be changing.
According to Port Arthur Health Department Director Judith Smith, speaking anecdotally, she’s noticed a larger number of area residents in their 70s and 80s being confirmed to have the virus.
When: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday
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Six of the 33 coronavirus cases confirmed in Port Arthur residents older than 80 were reported in the past several days, the Health Department reports. That comes after weeks of very few, if any, cases confirmed in those age ranges.
Smith said she wasn’t yet sure why that might be, but it could be linked to Hurricane Laura evacuations. She noted that elderly individuals were more likely to evacuate or be evacuated into a location that might require them to mingle with other individuals.
“I just noticed those numbers at the end of last week,” she said. “I saw more people in their 70s or 80s testing positive. We haven’t seen that in a while. For a good while it was mostly people in their 20s and 30s.”
The number of COVID-19-positive patients at Jefferson County hospitals appears to have remained steady over the past week. Additionally, it’s been about a week since the county reported a resident’s life had been claimed by the virus.
Since the first coronavirus case was reported in mid-March, Jefferson County has confirmed at least 5,559 positive cases. 100 county residents have died as a result of the virus.