Coronavirus Updates: Carthage ISD reminds community of COVID protocols

Carthage ISD is reminding students and staff of their COVID protocols ahead of the start of the spring semester on Wednesday.

Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 10 days or who have been in close contact with a person with a confirmed COVID-19 case should not return to school. Those persons should contact Donna Porter at dporter@carthageisd.org or Amanda Deason at adeason@carthageisd.org, who will let those persons know their return dates.

Students and staff are also asked to continue monitoring themselves for symptoms. Do not come to school if the following symptoms appear:

  • Feeling feverish or have a temperature of 100 degrees or higher
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing/shortness of breath
  • Nausea or vomitting
  • Diarrhea
  • Significant muscle pain or ache
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Chills
  • Shaking or exaggerated shivering

“All staff and students should continue to prescreen each day before coming to school and remain off campus if they are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above,” the district said in an announcement. “Thank you for all your help in keeping our school as safe as possible during these difficult times. We cannot wait to welcome all Bulldogs back to school!”

Active cases on the rise again in Panola County

Panola County has an estimated 131 coronavirus cases as of Monday evening, according to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services.

In total, the county has seen 41 fatalities, 891 recoveries, 704 confirmed cases and 359 probable cases. A case is considered probable when a person receives a positive result from a rapid test that is not then laboratory confirmed.

COVID-19 patients on Monday accounted for 20.58 percent of hospital capacity in the Trauma Service Region G that stretches across a 19-county region in Northeast Texas and includes Gregg, Upshur, Rusk, Harrison, Panola and Smith counties. According to Texas Department of State Health Services, Monday was just the second time since the pandemic began that the hospitalization rate from the virus surpassed 20 percent. The previous time came two days prior when it registered 20.13 percent on Saturday.

Monday was the 21st consecutive day the Trauma Service Area registered a COVID-19 hospitalization rate higher than 15 percent.

Seven consecutive days of hospitalization rates for the Trauma Service Area on Dec. 20 set in motion renewed restrictions at businesses and restaurants in the region, per an executive order issued in October by Gov. Greg Abbott. The counties that make up the area are Gregg, Anderson, Camp, Cherokee, Franklin, Freestone, Harrison, Henderson, Houston, Marion, Panola, Rains, Rusk, Shelby, Smith, Trinity, Upshur, Van Zandt and Wood.

Seven consecutive days in which the COVID-19 hospitalization rate is less than 15 percent of total hospital capacity in the region are required to lift the new mandate.

More vaccines on the way

On Monday, state health officials announced that 325,000 additional vaccine doses would be getting into the hands of 949 providers in 158 Texas counties over the next week, part of the first round of vaccinations for front-line health workers as well as nursing home residents, Texans over 65 and those with certain medical conditions, among others. Some 121,875 doses are earmarked for long-term care facilities such as nursing homes and assisted-living centers.

In Panola County, the state announced Hope Community Medicine would be receiving 100 doses. It follows an announcement two weeks ago that Brookshire Brothers in Carthage had, would receive 500 doses.

But with the number of vaccine doses available still falling far short of what’s needed to cover those who are eligible — and with state officials pushing hospitals and other providers to administer vaccine doses that the providers say they don’t have, aren’t sure are coming or have already administered — confusion and frustration have surrounded the initial few weeks of the vaccination rollout.

Providers have 24 hours to report their vaccination statistics to the Department of State Health Services, and the agency updates its numbers each afternoon with data reported by midnight the day before, so the state’s numbers could lag up to two days behind the reality on the ground.

With the new shipments this week, the state has been allotted a total of 1.5 million doses through the first four weeks of distribution, officials said Monday. Providers in 214 of the state’s 254 counties will have received shipments by the end of the week, health officials said.

Some 793,625 doses had been received by providers by midnight Sunday, according to the Texas Department of Health Services.

Of those, 414,211 — just over half of those delivered — had been administered, according to the agency’s dashboard.

This week also marked the beginning of the second round of doses for those who were among the first to be vaccinated. Some 224,250 doses, earmarked for those who received their first dose in mid-December, are being sent to providers this week, state health officials said on Monday.

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