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East Texas hospital leader worries lifting restrictions could trigger ‘comeback’ in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations

“We were honestly dismayed in the health care field”
Here is the latest news from the KLTV East Texas Now News Desk.
Updated: Mar. 3, 2021 at 7:19 PM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - An East Texas hospital leader says while things are getting better, he believes the state’s COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted too soon.

“We were honestly dismayed in the health care field,” said Dr. Tom Cummins, Chief Medical Officer for UT Health East Texas.

Cummins said COVID-19 hospitalization numbers are back to the levels we saw in the spring. But despite the dip in numbers, knowing more about the virus, and having vaccines, he worries about a repeat of the last time Texas eased up restrictions.

“We saw this before,” he said. “And I’m really seriously concerned that this could trigger another surge.”

As of Tuesday, 24 people were in UT Health’s Tyler hospital with active cases of COVID-19, and about 50 patients were being treated for the virus across the entire system, according to Cummins.

“Letting loose too early could trigger another comeback,” he said.

Along with worries over lifting restrictions, Cummins is also concerned about variants of the virus that we’re still learning about, and spring break activities involving large gatherings.

“I hope I’m wrong,” Cummins said. “But that’s what we’ve seen throughout this pandemic. Anytime there’s a big holiday that involves lots of people getting together, within a week to 10 days we start seeing a rise in the number of cases again.”

Both UT Health East Texas and CHRISTUS Health will continue to leave mask requirements in place. Texas Oncology released a statement saying that they will keep their current COVID-19 protocols in place, as well.

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