COVID-19 restrictions tighten due to hospitalizations

Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
Grayson County's COVID-19 Active Case Count on Thursday

Increased COVID-19 hospitalizations in the area have led to increased restrictions.  

On Thursday, Grayson County announced another COVID-19 related death, bringing the total number of local people to suffer such deaths to 117. The county also announced 47 new cases of the illness bringing the number of people who are currently have the illness in the county to 399.

A report from the Grayson County Office of Emergency Management said Thursday marked the seventh consecutive day of regional COVID-19 hospitalizations making up over 15% of hospital capacity.

"Pursuant to Executive Orders GA-31 and GA-32, the following restrictions go back into effect: 1) Limiting inpatient medical procedures and surgeries; and 2) Any business establishment that otherwise would have a 75 percent occupancy or operating limit under Executive Order 32 must again limit operations to only 50 percent and bars must close.

"Executive Order GA-31 issued September 17th states that every hospital located in an area with high hospitalizations as defined below, shall postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not medically necessary to diagnose or correct a serious medical condition of, or to preserve the life of, a patient who without timely performance of the surgery or procedure would be at risk for serious adverse medical consequences or death, as determined by the patient’s physician; provided, however, that this prohibition shall not apply to any surgery or procedure that, if performed in accordance with the commonly accepted standard of clinical practice, would not deplete any hospital capacity needed to cope with the COVID-19 disaster.

"Executive Order GA-32 issued October 7th states that in areas with high hospitalizations as defined below, any business establishment that otherwise would have a 75 percent occupancy or operating limit may operate at up to only 50 percent. “Areas with high hospitalizations” means any Trauma Service Area (TSA) that has had seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID- 19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of all hospitalized patients exceeds 15 percent, until such time as the Trauma Service Area has seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of all hospitalized patients is 15 percent or less," said a statement from GCOEM.

It also said that a current list of areas with high hospitalizations will be maintained at Combined hospital data over time by TSA can be found at that link under Hospitalization Data. "

Grayson County is in TSA-E which includes Collin, Cooke, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Erath, Fannin, Grayson, Hood, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Navarro, Palo Pinto, Parker, Rockwall, Somervell, Tarrant and Wise counties. Lab confirmed COVID-Hospitalizations out of Total Hospital Capacity (Percent) for TSA-E:

"While there is a vaccine on the horizon, what is needed to slow the virus now are the simple things our public health experts have already been asking us to do. If sick, get tested then stay home until you know the results. Then follow public health guidance if you get positive results; Stay home when possible; Stay 6 feet apart from those you don’t live with; Wear a face covering in public; Wash hands often; Clean your surroundings; Cover your coughs and sneezes; And don’t touch your face," the statement further said.

In Grayson County Thursday, the greatest number of cases was in Sherman with 161 cases. Denison had 98 cases and Bells has 16. Howe and Van Alstyne each had 15 cases and Pottsboro had 14 cases. Collinsville had seven cases and Tioga had four. Sadler had three cases, Tom Bean had two and Gordonville had one.

So far, 4,717 people in Grayson County have suffered from the illness. More than 44,000 tests have been administered. 

In the 24 hours before the report was posted, there were 160 emergency room visits in Grayson County. Forty of them were believed to be COVID-19 related. Nineteen people were admitted with COVID-19 suspected. On Thursday, there were 65 Grayson County residents in the hospital with  COVID-19. There were 85 patients in Grayson County hospitals with the illness total.

The hospitals had no ICU beds available on Thursday evening.