Smith County shows signs of flattening curve, leaders continue to urge caution & social distancing

Coronavirus

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Smith County announced that four new COVID-19 cases were confirmed Thursday afternoon, bringing it to 112 total.

47 of those patients have recovered and NET Health CEO George Roberts said that number will be updated on Friday.

Smith still leads all East Texas counties in the total number of cases and is the only one to reach triple digits, but nearly half have recovered.

Roberts showed a timeline of the number of cases in the Smith County area and stressed that the curve was slowly beginning to flatten. However, he and other top health officials stressed that it is not a sign to begin relaxing social distancing efforts.

The worst thing for business would be to open back up and then go through something like this again. We won’t want to do this again.

Martin Heines, Tyler Mayor

There has been a growing movement among conservatives to reopen many businesses as soon as possible.

Earlier this week, Texas Representative Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler) sent a letter along with other members of the Texas Freedom Caucus to Governor Abbott urging him to relax his stay-at-home order and allow businesses to re-open.

Abbott has said he will release a plan on Friday for how he will slowly begin to re-open businesses.

There has also been pressure from Democrats that it will be opening up the state too early and that it could lead to a second wave.

Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran has said he will enact a “responsible restart” and it will be “not emotionally based.” Moran says that he is awaiting Abbott’s announcement on Friday to decide what to do next for Smith County residents.

His stay-at-home order for the county expires on April 30 in conjunction with Abbott’s order.

Tyler Mayor Martin Heines stressed that residents continue to follow guidelines and not drop their guard too early.

The county also released demographic information about the race of the COVID-19 patients:

  • White: 34 cases (60 percent)
  • Black: 15 cases (26 percent)
  • Asian: 5 cases (9 percent)
  • Hispanic: 3 cases (5 percent)

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, whites makes up 60 percent of Smith County, Blacks 18 percent, Asians just under two percent, and Hispanics 20 percent.

East Texas is currently over 570 total cases in the region and here is the most recent tally:

  • Smith County – 112, 2 deaths
  • Nacogdoches County – 73, 6 deaths
  • Bowie County –63, 5 deaths
  • Gregg County – 48
  • Shelby County – 46
  • Harrison County – 34, 2 deaths
  • Panola County – 29, 3 deaths
  • Rusk County – 24
  • Angelina County – 23
  • Polk County – 14
  • Henderson County – 12
  • Van Zandt County – 11, 1 death
  • San Augustine County – 11, 1 death
  • Cherokee County – 10, 1 death
  • Upshur County – 9
  • Titus County – 8
  • Cass County – 8
  • Anderson County – 6
  • Wood County – 6
  • Camp County – 6
  • Hopkins County – 4
  • Trinity County – 4
  • Morris County – 4
  • Marion – 3
  • Rains – 2
  • Franklin County – 1

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