Gradual uptick in COVID-19 cases prompts concern from community leaders ahead of holidays

COVID social gathering rules

MARSHALL, Tx. (KSLA) — With Thanksgiving near and the rise in COVID-19 cases, both community leaders and hospital officials are issuing new warnings before a possible surge.

In Marshall, city leaders are reporting an uptick in the number of coronavirus cases in recent days and weeks. As talks of holiday gatherings, both big and small, become more common — city leaders issued a message.

“We need to make sure that we protect the citizens of this county,” said Stormy Nickerson, spokeswoman for the City of Marshall. “One person coming to an event with COVID could infect a great number of people and then have a spiderweb effect throughout our community.”

Gatherings inside cannot exceed 75 percent of capacity. As of now, a rule is in place that groups of 10 or more people gathering outside must have the mayor’s permission to do so.

Penalties in Texas for not adhering to COVID-19 guidelines can result in a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.

For events outside Marshall city limits, those gatherings need approval from the Harrison County judge.

Across the state line in Shreveport — the city is seeing strong evidence of an oncoming COVID-19 surge. At least 93 COVID hospitalizations are at Willis-Knighton.

“We are seeing a significant increase and uptick in ER activity,” said Brian Crawford, CAO of Willis-Knighton Health System. “So, our ER’s are being inundated with patients, not just COVID-type complaints, but flu and general symptoms.”

COVID rules and guidelines set in place

That’s a 20 percent jump from two months ago, making a 60 percent rise over the last month.

According to hospital officials, they expect to see a new record high soon. However, instead of a shortage of beds — the hospital system is dealing with a low count of nurses.

“Those critical care nurses, you know, they’re more challenging to find and in short supply, than just regular nurses are,” Crawford added.

The hospital system also wants to remind people to visit their doctor or an urgent care clinic if they have a non-emergency medical problem.

Back in Marshall, Nickerson said that people still want to adhere to tradition and have celebrations in the community.

“We have Wonderland of Lights — Marshall is known for that,” Nickerson said. “We’ve had this over three decades and we have to scale it back a little. But, we’re still having Wonderland of Lights.”

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