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UT Health East Texas: COVID-19 hospitalizations tripled in about 2 weeks

Health leaders urging East Texans to get vaccinated
UT Health East Texas in Tyler.
UT Health East Texas in Tyler.(Blake Holland/KLTV)
Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 6:57 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 20, 2021 at 8:02 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - COVID-19 hospitalizations in East Texas have tripled in just about two weeks, according to UT Health East Texas.

“Our hospitalized numbers have tripled in about two weeks,” said Dr. Tom Cummins, Chief Medical Officer. “From single digits here in Tyler to, if you take our two Smith County hospitals, up into the 30s now. So we’ve literally tripled.”

Cummins said their test positivity rate on Monday was 31%, a number not seen since February. The increase in hospitalizations recently prompted UT Health East Texas to start reopening COVID-19 units that had been repurposed in recent months as the numbers were decreasing.

“To be more efficient and effective, we felt like we should reopen a couple of the units to start accommodating our COVID surge again,” Cummins said.

At CHRISTUS Mother Frances, Dr. Mark Anderson said their numbers are also climbing.

“We’ve definitely seen an increase since the Fourth of July,” Anderson said. “We reached a low point in June, where we had less than ten COVID patients in the hospital here at Mother Frances in Tyler, and since then we’ve jumped up into the mid 30s, with about a third of those patients being on ventilators. So it’s definitely a significant change.”

Both hospital leaders say a majority of their hospitalized patients are unvaccinated, leading them to make pleas with the public to get vaccinated.

“It is extremely frustrating,” Cummins said. “I’ve talked to some of our docs, and they’re all very frustrated because as they go to evaluate the patients, and ask ‘have you been vaccinated?’ And the answer is no, as you’re putting a 30 or 40-year-old on a respirator because they can’t breathe.”

CLICK HERE TO TRACK VACCINATION RATES IN EAST TEXAS

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