County falls under stricter rules due to high hospitalizations

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Region exceeds 15% threshold for COVID cases

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Restaurants, office buildings and other businesses in Hopkins County will be limited to 50% capacity until further notice due to the region’s COVID-19 hospitalization rate exceeding 15% over seven consecutive days.

“This does change some things in Hopkins County, but actually the impact on some of the restaurants won’t be too severe because they are running at 50% anyway,” Hopkins County Judge Robert Newsom said. “A lot of people aren’t getting out like they would have under ordinary circumstances.”

The order also halts elective surgeries to conserve PPE for COVID-19 patients and healthcare workers, and CHRISTUS Mother Frances - Sulphur Springs CEO Paul Harvey explained any surgery for “critical needs” will still be done.

“We continue to be able to operate and fully take care of any patients that come here for COVID and also non-COVID,” Harvey said. “As we get patients in, we hope we can discharge in the right way to get those patients taken care of.”

The region, which is under a Regional Advisory Council (RAC) managing Trauma Service Area F, includes the following counties: Bowie, Cass, Delta, Hopkins, Lamar, Morris, Red River and Titus. In the past three days alone, the region has seen some of its highest spikes in hospitalizations, according to Department of State Health Services data, including a record high 19.48% set Sunday. Data is not yet available for Monday.

“We continue to see across the counties in Northeast Texas a…little spike with the number of COVID patients,” Harvey said. “We knew we had to anticipate some of this due to the holidays being so close to each other.”

Delta, Morris and Red River counties are currently exempt from the restrictions due to their low case numbers, having had fewer than 30 cases in the last 14 days. Hopkins County does not meet that, and for the region-wide restrictions to be lifted, the hospitalization rate has to be 15% or less for seven straight days.

“Each RAC can submit by county that type of paperwork [for an attestation],” Harvey said.

Newsom and Harvey pointed to Bowie County as the source of most hospitalizations. According to Hopkins County itself currently has 29 patients in the COVID unit that currently has a capacity of 35 beds, according to Harvey. Seventy-seven beds are available for ICU or COVID. The hospital has a total of 96 beds, meaning COVID patients make up 30% of total capacity, well above the 15% threshold.

“We have room for expanding what we have,” Harvey said. “We had to go above the 30 [patients] to 35 patients that we can take care of right now.”