DeSoto Parish confirmed COVID-19 cases up to 8; Rusk County confirms second case

First COVID-19 death in Northeast Texas reported in Smith County; number of confirmed cases more than double since Tuesday in Caddo & Bossier parishes

The first confirmed death attributed to COVID-19/coronavirus in East Texas has been reported in Smith County while the number of confirmed cases in nearby DeSoto Parish, La., has risen to eight, officials there reported Wednsday.

On Wednesday afternoon the first confirmed case in Nacogdoches County was confirmed by Jeff Patterson, CEO of Nacogdoches Medical Center,.

In East Texas, Rusk County now has had two cases confirmed while the total for the Northeast corner of the state has risen to 28 cases with four cases confirmed in Gregg County (Longview area) as of Wednesday afternoon, officials reported.

Also Wednesday afternoon, both the city of Longview and Gregg County issues mandatory “shelter in place” orders for the next two weeks. The order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m., Thursday, March 26.

The death in Smith County was of a 91-year-old man, according to officials with the Northeast Texas Public Health District.

In Lousiana, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Caddo Parish and Bossier Parish each more than doubled from figures released Tuesday. Caddo Parish on Wednesday had 93 confirmed cased, up from the 40 reported on Tuesday, while Bossier Parish had 25 confirmed cases on Wedensday, up from the 12 reported on Tuesday.

In addition, a second Northwestern Louisiana death due to COVID-19 was confirmed in Bienville. So far in the state there have been 1,795 cases confirmed in 48 of the state's 64 parishes.

The DeSoto Parish Sheriff's Office on Wednesday said three of the confirmed cases there were in Stonewall and three were in Mansfield. The other two DeSoto cases were not yet attributed to a city.

In Northeast Texas officials reported 28 confirmed cases of COVID-19, broken down by county: Smith – 16; Gregg County – 3; Rusk County – 2; and one each in Nacogdoches, Morris, Van Zandt, Upshur, Cass, Bowie and Hopkins counties.

The following information was released Wednesday afternoon by the DeSoto Parish Sheriff's Office detailing the rapid increase in both confirmed cases and deaths:

Days past in Louisiana by the numbers:
There were 837 positive cases last week.
March 23: 1,172 cases (+335 added in 24hrs)
March 24: 1,388 cases (+216 in 24 hrs)
March 25: 1,795 cases (+407 in 24 hrs)
Total Deaths to Date: 65 (+18 in 24 hrs)
DeSoto Parish: 8 positive cases and zero deaths.

In Nacogdoches County a community coalition has come together to establish a COVID-19 call center and remote site testing facility, according to Ian Gibson, director of strategy for Nacogdoches Medical Center. The contact number is (936) 468-4787.

“We have created these services to help support and protect our physicians and their patients,” Gibson said. “It is our hope that the call center will not only help screen community member for COVID-19 testing but will also provide reassurance and education to the “worried well.”

By providing an off-site testing facility, it is also our aim to provide the local physicians a resource outside their clinics to send patients that may need the testing service.

On Wedneday aftenoon, Laurie King, director of human resources at Center's Portacool plant, released the following statement:

“At Portacool our employees’ health and safety, as well as the health and safety of our community, is our primary concern.   As a result of the recent COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in the United States, on the direction and guidance of the United States Government and per the executive order issued by Texas Governor Abbott’s office March 19, 2020, Portacool has elected to send home all non-essential personnel beginning Monday, March 30, 2020, and continuing through at least Sunday, April 12, 2020.   We anticipate returning to normal operations on April 13, 2020.”

UPDATED INFO FROM Nacogdoches County

PLEASE SHARE -- Read this information completely and please continue to disseminate updates and accurate information to your friends and family -- via social media or one-on-one communications. 

As you may know, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has confirmed the first positive COVID-19 case in Nacogdoches, as of this morning.

As of today, Nacogdoches Medical CenterNacogdoches Memorial Hospital, and Excel ER in collaboration with Nacogdoches government officials and SFA School of Nursing are also announcing, a call center and remote testing facility dedicated to COVID-19 concerns in Nacogdoches. 

In response to the confirmed case, DSHS is actively conducting contact investigations and will notify any persons who have had contact with the patient. Contact investigations are performed by public health officials and are designed to interrupt the spread of infection. The attached press release and information has more details regarding the call center and testing center. 

Rumors and uninformed sources are detrimental to the efforts of your beloved healthcare workers and first responders. Honor them by stepping up and informing yourself and responding online when you see rumors. 

 You can make a difference by telling your networks about the call center to ensure the hospitals and local doctors are not getting potential COVID-19 patients in their offices.

At this time we would like to also take a moment to say how PROUD we are of our community for adapting to these difficult circumstances.

The Light and Champion

137 San Augustine St.
Center TX 75935